Commitment to the Hispanic Community is Family Affair for Vilma Martinez and Son Carlos

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Vilma Martinez refused to let ethnic stereotypes prevent her from pursuing a career in law, a determination she instilled in her son, Carlos Singer, also an attorney. "Embracing Ethnicity" is the title of an article in the September/October 2008 issue of Diversity & the Bar® Magazine that also features Nicaraguan attorney Riguer Silva and his son Cristian Silva, an attorney at Baker Botts.

The parents of both families never allowed negative stereotypes to prevent them from succeeding in their fields, and their success did not lead them to shed their ties to their communities. Ms. Martinez became an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and later became president of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund for several years, before joining Munger Tolles as a partner in 1982.

Her son, Carlos Singer, also overcame prejudice in school. Now, as an attorney at Willenken, Wilson, Loh & Lieb, LLP (after working as deputy counsel to Los Angele Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa), Mr. Singer serves on the board of trustees for the Los Angeles Music and Art School in East L.A. and the Mexican American Bar Association. He believes that his mother has “instilled the importance of family and community outside of the professional context. She’s instilled the importance of being a participant in the community, whether through pro bono work or service on behalf of nonprofits.”

Diversity & the Bar® is a publication of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, founded in 1997 to advocate for the expanded hiring, retention, and promotion of minority attorneys in corporate law departments and the law firms that serve them.

Ms. Martinez, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger Tolles, specializes in federal and state court litigation and employment counseling.