40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Vanessa Martinez

Associate Attorney, Egan, Flanagan & Cohen; Age 33

Vanessa Martinez

Vanessa Martinez

Vanessa Martinez has been advocating for others since she was a young child.

It’s something that gives her great satisfaction, and her decision to become an attorney was driven by that skill coupled with a desire to give back to the community, which was instilled in her and her siblings by their father, Santos.

Martinez became a legal assistant at age 14, was involved in numerous youth programs at New North Citizens Council, and served as an HIV and AIDS hotline counselor during her teens. She is the first in her family to earn a college degree, the only one with a graduate degree, and worked her way up through the ranks of the legal profession.

Today, the associate attorney at Egan, Flanagan & Cohen focuses on real-estate and business law.

“About 70% of my clients are first-time homebuyers who don’t understand the process, so I am here to guide them through it,” she told BusinessWest.

Martinez has been a presenter at first-time-homebuyer seminars for Springfield Neighborhood Housing, Springfield Partners for Community Action, New North Citizens Council, HAPHousing, Holyoke Housing Authority, and Chicopee Neighborhood Development. She is a member of the Hampden County Bar Assoc. and past vice president of its real-estate section, has served as a volunteer for the Lawyer on the Line program and the District Court Lawyer for a Day program since its inception, and is currently vice president of the board of Gandara Mental Health Center Inc., a nonprofit that provides mental-health, substance-abuse, and preventive services to children, adults, and families in Massachusetts.

She was a guest speaker at a Springfield College event titled “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,” at a Meet the Law event at UMass Amherst, and on a Springfield Technical Community College career panel for students majoring in criminal justice. In addition, Martinez has been recognized for her continued commitment and pro bono services to Hampden County District Court.

“From a very early age, God blessed me by putting key people in my life who guided and supported me,” she noted. “The Western Mass. community has given so much to me that I feel like it’s not only my desire, but my obligation to give back.”

—Kathleen Mitchell