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Home / Podcast  / 080: Empathetic Leadership: Great Life, Great Practice Lessons from the Honorable Carlos Martinez

Imagine spearheading a legal team facing daunting challenges with the scales of justice and human empathy in your hands.

On this episode of Great Practice, Great Life, the Honorable Carlos Martinez, Chief Public Defender of Miami-Dade County, joins Steve to share his day-to-day. His path from Cuban immigrant to an influential figure in the Florida justice system exemplifies leadership acumen, a commitment to public service, and an empathy-driven approach to legal defense.

Carlos explains the complexities of managing a large team of attorneys, handling cases ranging from misdemeanors to juvenile delinquency, all while nurturing a culture of gratitude and mentorship. His work with The Redemption Project exemplifies service beyond the call of duty, demonstrating that leadership is about lifting others even when the spotlight isn’t on you. Carlos’s story is one of dedication, innovation, and the quiet joy of serving those who need it most.

From managing customer complaints gracefully to finding motivation and joy amid the demanding pace of legal work, Carlos shares tactics that keep him grounded and forward-thinking. Tune in for a masterclass in leadership and a compelling story of how strategic thinking, empathy, and the pursuit of redemption can impact communities and individuals.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Carlos Martinez’s background as a Cuban immigrant and ascent to Chief Public Defender for Miami-Dade County
  • The use of AI technology and the implementation of The Redemption Project in public defense
  • Leadership challenges in managing a large team with a tight budget in high-stress legal environments
  • Carlos’s strategies for staying motivated and maintaining focus through daily routines and gratitude practices
  • Insights into effective leadership, the importance of empathy in the workplace, and balancing organizational needs with humanity
  • Carlos’s community involvement and the impact of The Redemption Project on individuals with criminal records
  • Management of customer complaints and maintaining personal well-being in professional settings

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Supporting Resources:


Grow Your Law Practice with AI

Law Offices of the Public Defender: 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Carlos Martinez: LinkedIn

Miami-Dade Public Defender is Using Artificial Intelligence for Research and Case Preparation

Steve Riley

Certified Practice Advisor & Attorney

Steve Riley has coached attorneys for more than 20 years. His one-on-one coaching focuses on a limited number of top producing attorneys committed to taking their practices to new levels of excellence, profit, and personal success. He also presents at group coaching workshops around the country for individual law firms, state bar associations, and other legal organizations.

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