Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Nico Martinez of Bartlit Beck

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

I am co-lead counsel in a voting rights case challenging the statewide method of electing members to Georgia’s Public Service Commission.

In August 2022, following a trial where I delivered the opening statement and cross-examined the state’s only expert, a federal judge ruled that the statewide method unlawfully dilutes the votes of millions of Black voters in Georgia and prohibited the state from using that method any longer.

I then led the effort to preserve that victory for the ensuing election cycle by persuading the Supreme Court to unanimously vacate an appellate stay of the district court’s injunction.

I was a key member of the Bartlit Beck team serving as lead counsel for institutional investors that lost billions when Allianz’s Structured Alpha hedge funds collapsed, prompting an SEC investigation and federal criminal indictments. After defeating a motion to dismiss, I took the litigation’s first deposition. The cases settled in 2022.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

Being a first-year attorney at any firm can be nerve wracking and building up your confidence to tackle the courtroom takes time. I was fortunate to begin my career at Bartlit Beck where, due to the nature of the firm and small teams, all first-year attorneys are taught, “the only way to learn is to do.”

In many firms, younger attorneys are not given the opportunity to have hands-on trial experience. However, Bartlit Beck gives first-years the exposure they need to become strong trial lawyers.

This “practice makes perfect” mentality has been a pillar in my career, and no matter your seniority, the more you cross-examine witnesses and argue cases in front of a judge, the more quickly you will improve your craft.

How do you define success in your practice?

I recognize that in this profession, you will not win every case. If you measure your success as a lawyer in terms of courtroom wins, you will always fall short of your goals. Instead, I define success as being able to walk away from the courtroom saying I did all that I could to help my client.

Our clients rely on us to put our best foot forward and provide them with all the tools and resources to help them receive a favorable verdict. If I tried my hardest and gave my all to a case, no matter the outcome, I will know I was successful and did the best that I could for my client.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

It has been a true honor to serve as co-counsel for a group of Black voters in Rose et al. v. Raffensperger. The outcome of this case did not only impact our clients, but the entire state of Georgia.

We came into this case with the deck stacked against us, but we were fortunate to get a judge who understood our clients’ argument, was open to hearing the full facts of the case, and reached the correct result, notwithstanding the political implications. With this being the first time, a case of this extent was litigated, it was a privilege to be a part of history.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

I will never forget my time clerking for Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Bay Area. Judge Noonan was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

I had many conversations with him discussing how his views were different than that of the former president, however, his appointment symbolized that law is not, and should not, be defined by your politics. He taught me that law is many things, but above all, it is about kindness and fairness to others, as your decisions will have consequences for real human beings.

This experience and Judge Noonan’s wise words of wisdom inspired me to pursue a career as a first-chair trial lawyer.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.

For something more contemporary, “Ojitos Lindos”by Bad Bunny. And for a throwback, “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins.

Nico Martinez of Bartlit Beck and sons
Credit: Nico Martinez and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Nico Martinez, successfully represented the children and ex-wife of Jack Grynberg, founder of a group of privately held oil and gas companies, first in a jury trial where Grynberg sought $800 million in damages and then in a bench trial where he sought $400 million more in equitable relief. Bartlit Beck won complete defense verdicts in both trials, affirmed by the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2019. He is an adjunct professor of law and co-director of the federal appellate clinic at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

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