Many of the most successful plaintiffs’ lawyers in the United States represented defendants before switching to the other side of the courtroom. Comparatively few, however, take that experience and devote their practices to medical malpractice cases. Reid Martin, name partner of Tyler, Texas-based Martin Walker, has achieved impressive results for the victims of malpractice and their families for more than two decades. The Lawdragon 500 member has also received numerous accolades in pursuit of his “true calling,” including the 2021 Reich Chandler Outstanding Advocate Award from the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
Lawdragon: Can you describe for our readers the type of plaintiffs’ practice you have?
Reid Martin: I have focused my legal practice on the preservation and protection of the standard of care when medical professionals provide medical care to patients. I am a patients’ rights advocate who has dedicated my practice to helping people who have been injured or lost loved ones due to medical malpractice.
LD: How did you first become interested in developing a medical focus?
RM: My partner and I grew up in medical families and have a unique approach to our cases. We love and respect the medical community, but human error still causes needless injuries and death. We want to be proactive and play a part in the provision of medical care in our country and hope to impact the profession in a positive way while seeking just compensation for victims of negligence.
LD: What are some aspects about this work that you find professionally satisfying?
RM: I love the challenge of having to understand the medicine, to understand the standard of care and to be able to tell my clients’ stories in an accurate and understandable way so that juries in my cases can exercise their constitutional powers to effect change when it is necessary.
LD: Out of all the work you’ve done in your career, what would you say is the most interesting matter you’ve handled?
RM: My representation of a man against one of our local hospitals which resulted in a $43.5M dollar verdict. The most interesting part of the trial was the fact that three local physicians testified in support of our case despite enormous pressure not to do so and certainly not to help my client. To witness medical professionals testify truthfully in the face of such power to their likely detriment confirmed my belief that our physicians and medical care givers are people to be respected when they do the right thing.
Taking good care of your mental, physical and spiritual self will allow you to serve you clients better.
LD: What did it mean to receive the 2021 Reich Chandler award?
RM: This award is an acknowledgement by my peers and by the Texas Trial Lawyer Association which means a great deal to me. I do my best in every case every day to try to be the kind of lawyer that Reich and his father George Chandler exemplify.
LD: Is there a specific reason why you chose your law school over another law school?
RM: I chose to attend South Texas College of Law Houston because of the advocacy program. I was fortunate to have been able to train under Dean Treece and to participate in National Moot Court competitions. I won the best brief award with my partner Rob Galloway at the F. Lee Bailey Moot Court Competition in Florida.
LD: Is this the type of practice you imagined yourself practicing while in law school?
RM: I have had to be ready to make changes to my practice from day one. I started out as an Admiralty defense lawyer in Houston then moved to East Texas where I worked on car accident cases for insurance companies. I have been a silica and asbestos defense lawyer but finally found my true calling in the representation of medical malpractice victims. I hope to finish my career doing this work but have learned that as a trial lawyer, we must stand ready to fight for our clients when called to do so.
LD: What advice do you have now for current law school students?
RM: My advice to law students would be to protect your health and protect your eyes. Be grounded so that when you choose to represent a client you can do so with 100 percent of your capabilities. Taking good care of your mental, physical and spiritual self will allow you to serve you clients better.
LD: Can you share a lawyer you have come up against in a negotiation or case that you admire, and why?
RM: My hero in the legal industry is Joel Steed. We often have cases against each other so I have seen him work first hand. His professionalism and his ethics have impressed me over the years. Be true to your word describes his work ethic. Gaining the trust of opposing counsel will always serve the clients on both sides of the litigation.
LD: What makes your firm unique?
RM: At Martin Walker, we are a trial team who work together on every case. My partner and I attended high school, college and law school together and have fought in the trenches of litigation battle for over 30 years now. When clients hire our firm, they know they are hiring highly motivated lawyers with the financial ability to go toe to toe with hospital corporations and insurance companies and that we can, do and will present their case to a jury for the verdict they deserve.
LD: Do you have a favorite book or movie about the justice system?
RM: The back wall of our conference room is from "To Kill A Mockingbird" with Atticus Finch cross examining the girl who claimed to have been assaulted. The scorn felt by Atticus and his family for representing a client – no matter who that client may be – has inspired my career. I want to help those that cannot help themselves and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.