Loretta P. Martinez, Esq.
General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs
General Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs for The City University of New York, is a national leader and expert on a broad array of legal issues in higher education, including public private partnerships to expand academic programs and industry connections for students, Board and university governance, civil rights laws including Title IX, and undocumented students. She is a frequent speaker on higher education law at national conferences. She began at CUNY on August 1, 2017.
A graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale University, she has held leadership positions in higher education for nearly two decades and has been an important voice for creating opportunities for students from underrepresented groups and for broad access to college. A native of Colorado, Martinez has served as general counsel and board secretary at public and private institutions, most recently Metropolitan State University of Denver. Previously she was legal counsel and general secretary at Colorado College, general counsel for the Colorado State University System and was a staff attorney with the office of the general counsel at Harvard University.
Martinez has held a variety of appointed positions in Colorado, where Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper named her in 2013 as one of three commissioners from the state on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), where she also served on the executive committee. She also was appointed by former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens to the Board of the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority (CECFA) for three terms and was chair of the board. Martinez has also served as a volunteer on local and national boards and associations in the legal and education fields. She is the former president of the Latin American Education Foundation board of directors and serves on the national board of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. She was also recently elected to the national board of NACUA, the national association for college and university attorneys and is a long-time member of the Association of Governing Boards.
Martinez received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1991 and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University in 1988. Prior to her work in higher education, she clerked for the United States District Court of Colorado and worked in private practice, specializing in employment law, public law and commercial and products liability litigation.
In her effort to expand workplace opportunities for students, Martinez has been instrumental in creating public private partnerships across industry sectors for improved experiential learning and co-founded a coalition of Latino educators focused on improving recruitment, retention and graduation rates for Latino students.