Frances Leos Martinez is a Clinical Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, teaching in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, which she co-founded in 2006. At the Law School, she also founded the Texas Title Project, which provided title-clearing services to more than 350 low-income families seeking disaster recovery assistance in East Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Frances’ areas of focus include nonprofit and social enterprise, small business, homeownership preservation, and real property issues in extra urban communities.
Frances is also a senior staff attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (“TRLA”). Prior to that she served as the Director of Texas Community-Building with Attorney Resources—a business law pro bono program serving nonprofits engaged in community development. Frances also served as the founding director of the St. Mary’s University Law School Community Development Clinic and as the Director of the Women’s Homeownership Program at McAuley Institute. In 1992, Frances began her community development practice as a Skadden Fellow in the TRLA Colonias Project, one of the first CED law practices on the Texas-Mexico border. Immediately after graduation, Frances served as a law clerk to the Honorable Filemon B. Vela, United States Judge for the Southern District of Texas.
Frances is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where she was a member of the Stanford Law Review and was the recipient of the Hilmer Oehlmann, Jr. Prize for Writing. Frances’ passion for community development began while she was a law student. She was deeply involved in the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, where she co-founded a self-help immigration project designed to help residents apply for relief through the Immigration Reform and Control Act. In 1990, Frances organized one of the first university-based Earned Income Tax Credit clinics, a collaboration between the Stanford Law and Business Schools. Prior to attending law school, Frances worked as an Assistant Editor at Scholastic Books, where she translated Clifford the Big Red Dog into Spanish. Frances was born in East Los Angeles, California but has family roots in South and Central Texas, where her father worked as a migrant farmworker and her mother graduated as a Licensed Practice Nurse from Holy Trinity Hospital in Austin.