Tiered Community Mentoring participant receives Gants Scholarship for Housing Court internship

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023
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Daniel Martinez

As one of 18 inaugural recipients of the Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Judicial Scholarship, UMass Law School student Daniel Martinez spent the last two months earning real-world experience as a paid intern in the Housing Court Metro South Division. It is the second consecutive summer internship for the third-year law student, a participant in the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Tiered Community Mentoring (TCM) Program who landed the positions through a partnership with the Trial Court.

Martinez’ time as an intern mirrored the founding vision behind the scholarship program, which allows law students to pursue career-development opportunities in the judicial system without the financial sacrifice of an unpaid position. 

“As a law student, finances are important, and so is experience,” Martinez said. “When the scholarship became available, I was fortunate enough to receive it, because it allowed me to be able to learn and contribute on the public side of the law and not be put in financial straits because of it.”

Martinez will graduate in December and is still weighing his career options but said his background in real estate prompted him to choose a placement in the Housing Court. He noted that the internship afforded him an intimate look at the inner workings of the department and helpful insights from clerks, housing specialists and judges that will support his advancement as a future attorney.

Much like his experience with the Housing Court, Martinez’ involvement in the TCM Program has played a formative role in his journey to becoming a lawyer. “To me, it’s one of the greatest opportunities that I’ve had while in law school because it’s opened so many other doors,” he said, specifically citing the program’s value for individuals with no previous exposure to the legal profession. 

“As a first-generation law student, I don’t have a built-in network in the legal community, and a lot of people don’t. The program gets your foot in the door and lets you build relationships and establish something that you otherwise wouldn’t have anywhere,” he said.

Martinez also praised the driving purpose of the TCM Program, which creates mentoring relationships across the educational spectrum, with each team composed of a high school student, undergraduate student, law student and practicing attorney.

“The concept is phenomenal where people who are interested in the legal field from a variety of stations in life are able to pour into others and be poured into,” he said.