MARTIN, STEVEN LESLIE (1956 ~ 2003). Steven Leslie Martin, first Chief Administrative Law Judge for the State of Texas, was born on March 20, 1956, to Maurice and Lynda Martin in Sherman, Texas. After graduating as valedictorian of McKinney High School in 1974, Steve graduated from Austin College in 1978, and from the University of Texas School of Law in 1980.
Steve led a deeply spiritual life and was initially torn between careers in ministry and the law. Having settled on the law, Steve worked as an attorney for the Texas Department of Community Affairs, the Office of the Attorney General, and as a private practitioner. He earned his board certification in administrative law in 1989. Steve's expertise, leadership and organizational abilities were recognized by Governor Ann Richards, who appointed him in 1991, to serve as the first Chief Administrative Law Judge of the newly created State Office of Administrative Hearings.
During his two terms as Chief Administrative Law Judge under Governors Richards and Bush, Steve made SOAH a national model for state administrative hearings agencies. Steve left the position that many called the "most powerful judge in Texas" in 1996, and returned to private practice. In 1999, he joined the Texas Department of Banking where he was serving as Senior Assistant General Counsel at the time of his death.
Steve's commitment to justice and to public service permeated his professional and personal life. Steve was a champion of the disadvantaged and served their causes through positions held on the boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Texas Consumer Association, and the Child and Family Services Association, among many others. Steve was also an active member of First Baptist Church, teaching Sunday School and working on various committees. Steve was elected by approximately 20,000 young lawyers to serve as the President of the Texas Young Lawyer's Association, the public service arm of the State Bar of Texas, in 1992-93.
He was a charismatic leader who implemented a multitude of national award-winning projects devoted to dropout prevention, literacy, fighting drug abuse, and providing legal services to the poor. Steve believed that his profession has a particular responsibility to serve those whom society might otherwise leave behind. Steve was a masterful communicator who believed in moving oratory and the power of the pen and music. He was a frequent lecturer on administrative law topics and authored West's Texas Forms on Administrative Practice in addition to numerous articles for the Texas Bar Journal and other professional publications. Steve also celebrated the mysteries of life through music, composing songs, playing the guitar and singing.
Steve died on March 1, 2003, and was later buried in the Texas State Cemetery
Information taken from obituary, Austin American-Statesman, Wednesday, March 5, 2003.