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Catalina Martinez: 2018 Government Pro Bono Award Recipient

By Anne King

Catalina Martinez, recipient of our 2018 Government Pro Bono Award and an attorney at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), stands out not only for her diligent work on her own pro bono matters, but also for her tireless efforts to recruit colleagues to pro bono advocacy.

In fact, the opportunity to provide pro bono services spurred Catalina to become an attorney. As a paralegal, she assisted in advocating for low-income tenants facing eviction and found the work highly rewarding. Since joining SBA, Catalina jumped into pro bono advocacy right away and hasn’t slowed down since.

For example, she has accepted numerous pro bono cases from the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy and Justice Clinic and the Housing Right to Counsel Project. What’s more, she’s a regular volunteer at the D.C. Bar’s Advice and Referral Clinic. Last year, Catalina traveled to Florida and put in long hours assisting victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma by helping them apply for loans to repair their homes and businesses. Catalina also sits on the board of a non-profit that fosters social development programs for displaced children.

At SBA, Catalina has dedicated herself to bolstering the agency’s support for pro bono work. She wrote and implemented a pro bono protocol and policy, joined the Interagency Pro Bono Working Group, and established SBA’s first Pro Bono Committee, which now includes members in DC, Virginia and Chicago. Catalina has worked hard to spread awareness of (and enthusiasm for) pro bono opportunities at SBA by, for example, hosting pro bono events including briefings and clinic trainings.

Catalina’s advocacy makes a real difference for her pro bono clients and her outreach and organizational efforts encourage her colleagues to make a difference as well. We are thrilled to recognize Catalina as the recipient of our 2018 Government Pro Bono Award.

Join us on December 4 to congratulate Catalina and the other 2018 award winners!

Anne King is a government attorney and a member of the board of directors of Washington Council of Lawyers.

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