Araceli Martinez was born in Los Angeles, where she was raised until the second grade; the third of five children. After her dad passed away, her family moved to Calexico, Calif. -- a town in the Imperial Valley that borders Mexicali, the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Norte -- in the late 1980s, and that is where she lived and grew up until she attended college at San Diego State University. She attended California Western School of Law and was admitted to practice law in the state of California in February 2008. She is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Martinez is married to Graciel Rivas, and they have an 11-year old daughter named Dorian. Dorian has autism, a neurological disorder that affects her ability to communicate, socialize, even self-regulate. She was diagnosed at the age of 2, and since then Martinez has worked hard to get the services she needs to get better and to protect her from discrimination. Martinez works hard to assert the rights of her daughter, her classmates and others with disabilities in the community, and the general public’s right to be informed and inclusive.
Martinez works actively to help disabled persons be heard. She participates in marches to support programs for the disabled and attends private organization meetings to discuss ways to enhance the quality of life of the disabled and their families. She is a member of the American Society for Autism, the San Diego ASA and served on the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education for San Diego Unified School District.
Presently Martinez practices in the areas of family law, education law and civil litigation. She is a member of the Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates. She is also an active member of Consumer Attorneys of California, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and the American Association for Justice. She belongs to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. As an Ironworker’s wife, she also volunteers time to help Local 229 pursue policies that benefit working families.
Martinez feels lucky to own her own law firm and is excited to see her business continue to grow over the last few years. It is hard work, but she deeply believes in the power of the human spirit and perseverance. She enjoy speaking to others, whether colleagues or members of the younger generations and motivating them to take control of their own destinies and to pursue their own goals.