Vilma Martinez was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Argentina by the U.S. Senate on July 24, 2009.
Ambassador Martinez has been a Partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson since 1982, where she specialized in federal and state court commercial litigation. In recent years, her legal practice focuses on advising to companies on steps to enhance their equal employment opportunity policies and build diversity and inclusion initiatives into their business plans.
Prior to Munger, Tolles & Olson, Ambassador Martinez served as President and General Counsel of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for nine years. One of Ambassador Martinez's most significant accomplishments as head of MALDEF was developing an operating framework that enabled it to grow and support a broader array of activities. Ambassador Martinez’s previous professional endeavors also include work as a litigation associate at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel in New York, and as a staff attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Enriching Ambassador Martinez’s experience is a history of continued public service on numerous non-profit boards. She served as Chairman of The Board of Regents of The University of California from 1984-1986, and was a Regent from 1976-1990. She previously served as a board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ambassador Martinez chaired the Pacific Council's Study Group on Mexico and served on the advisory boards of Columbia Law School and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California. She was appointed to President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy & Negotiations from 1994-1996.
Ambassador Martinez has been a popular speaker at educational institutions around the United States, including Harvard Law School, Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, Stanford, and her alma mater, the University of Texas.
Awards given to Ambassador Martinez include:
Ambassador Martinez was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Salvador and Marina Martinez. She earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a LL.B. from Columbia Law School.