Edward Martell was once a high school dropout facing a 20-year drug conviction. Instead of giving him the maximum sentence, judge Bruce Morrow gave Martell probation and a challenge.
Marrow told Martell the next time he walked into the courtroom, he wanted him to have made something great of himself.
“He said, ‘I challenge you to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company instead of being out here selling drugs,’” Martell told Deadline Detroit. “And I love a challenge.”
Fast forward 16 years, a now 27-year-old Martell is standing in front of Judge Marrow, but for a very different reason this time. This time, he is being sworn in as an attorney after passing the state bar in Michigan.
The path for Martell has been far from easy. While competing his GED, his guidance counselors tried to persuade him not to pursue a legal career. His prior criminal record might ruin his future career plans, but he never gave up.
After completing his associate’s degree, Martell received scholarships for both his undergraduate studies and law school. He went to gain a lot of experience by clerking at the District of Columbia’s Federal Public Defender’s office. He also worked as a writer and researcher at the Perkins Law Group.
Martell had plenty of supports by the time it came to take the bar exam. One being Judge Morrow, with whom he never lost touch with after all those years.
Martell completed a 1,200-plus page submission describing the process he took to turn his life around.
“The main thing they look for is candor. I let them know I am remorseful—that I’m downright embarrassed,” Martell reported to WAPO. “I am the same person, but I don’t think like that anymore. I’ve evolved.”
After only 15 minutes, Martell was approved to be a lawyer. He still works for the Perkins Group, but now will be practicing as an attorney instead of a researcher.
His dream that he worked so hard for finally came true and it is all thanks to judge Morrow.
Listen to the Andie Summers Show talk about the topic HERE