Latin Times Interview with Attorney Martin Schwartz
“Winner of the USF 2016 Sol Community award”
- Latin Times: Tell us about your family and where you came from?
Martin Schwartz: I was born in Rochester, New York. My father was a Psychologist and my mother was a teacher. Both my parents instilled in me the idea of hard work and helping other people. I studied at Cornell University, I worked as an intern, I wrote for the Labor Union Paper, and helped the Janitors get higher pay wages. I became a Labor union organizer for the International Lady’s Garment Workers Union. After that I was offered a startup Legal clinic in Quincy, Florida helping immigrants and migrant farm workers. Then I went to the Orlando, Florida area to work with Nuns helping migrant farm workers with immigration.
- Latin Times: What inspired you to become an Attorney?
Martin Schwartz: When I was a child, until I grew older and worked different blue collar jobs, I began to see a lot of the injustices going on with employees in the labor force. Quite Frankly, I was a natural with legal research and writing. In High School, I was a leader of the mock court class, and I also interned for the State Attorney. I thought to myself “I would make a very good Attorney”
- Latin Times: Tell us about your biggest area of Focus as an attorney?
Martin Schwartz: When I left Legal aid work and started private practice in Tampa, Florida on January of 1994, I began handling auto accident cases because that’s what people did here to make a living. I learned all the ropes and became very good at it. I Helped a lot of people with their cases and at the same time I became the local guy who helped people in Tampa with their immigration cases. I filed one of the first “Habitus Corpus” to challenge where they denied an Immigrant worker with a criminal record, relief. I worked with Immigration Law, Political Asylum, Citizenship Appeals, etc.,
- Latin Times: You won a huge case that involved a USF professor who was accused of being a terrorist?
Martin Schwartz: The Mazen Al-Najjar case was a very complex and time intensive case. He was a former professor at USF who was accused of being a terrorist. This took me five years, litigating the issue that you can’t wrongfully detain an immigrant based on classified information which has not been revealed to the defendant.
- Latin Times: What makes you a unique Immigration Attorney?
Martin Schwartz: I care about the people I represent. I will not stop till I find a solution to win their case. I can take a complicated case where there is very little hope and turn it around to help them and their family. I have won countless appeals for Immigrants. I often do free clinics offering counsel for migrant workers and immigrants. I am very good at what I do and I find it invigorating.
- Latin Times: You are fluent in Spanish, when did you learn to be bilingual.
Martin Schwartz: I studied Spanish since I was in eight grade and I took courses at Cornell University, audited Spanish courses while I was in Law School. I took a Spanish course at FAMU during a summer, then I spent nine months in Spain learning Spanish. I also work as an interpreter for the Capital Collateral Representation. It is very useful during a court hearing, when listening to the interpreter making sure they are correct, I have often caught the interpreters making mistakes, which could cost the defendant their case. Many times, I have acted as attorney and interpreter.
- Latin Times: What Advice can you give young up and coming attorneys.
Martin Schwartz: Study your field, research your cases, and make sure you call someone who has experience for counsel. Don’t handle it all yourself. I get a lot of calls for help with federal appeals and other cases as well.
- Latin Times: Who in your life has been your Hero and Inspiration?
Martin Schwartz: My father of course and Ceaser Chavez who was an organizer for Farm Workers Association. Sister Kathy, a nun who was over the Farm Workers Association was a great inspiration to me, she worked hard non-stop to help the Latin Community.
To Contact Martin Schwartz Attorney
Call – 813-269-7421