Mark D. Martin is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. With twenty-one years of
judicial service, Justice Martin is the only active member of the North Carolina state judiciary
with experience on the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Superior Court.
Martin learned the value of public service from his parents, Colonel M. Dean Martin and Ann Martin.
His father served in the United States Air Force and his mother worked as a school teacher.
After Colonel Martin retired from the military, he served as a business professor at Western
Carolina University until his death in 1990. Martin followed his parents to Cullowhee, graduating
summa cum laude from Western. He received his Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of
North Carolina School of Law. Martin later earned a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Judicial Process
from the University of Virginia.
In November 1998, Martin was elected to fill an open seat on the Supreme Court. At the time of his
installation, at age 35, he was the youngest Supreme Court justice in North Carolina history.
Martin had previously served on the Court of Appeals beginning in 1994, and as Resident Superior
Court Judge in Greenville, Judicial District 3A, from 1992 to 1994. Prior to his judicial service,
Martin served as legal counsel to Governor James G. Martin (no relation), practiced law at the
McNair Law Firm in Raleigh, and clerked for United States District Judge Clyde H. Hamilton.
Martin has served in a number of leadership roles within the North Carolina Bar Association,
including as its Vice-President and as a member of its Litigation Section Council, Judicial Independence
Committee, and Strategic Planning and Emerging Trends Committee. He has taught law courses at the
University of North Carolina, Duke University, and North Carolina Central University. In 2003, Martin
chaired the Commission on the Future of the North Carolina Business Court. He has also served as a
member of the Board of Directors for the Carolina Law Alumni Association and the Wake County Bar
Martin is dedicated to strengthening and advancing the rule of law. He is the Immediate Past-Chair of the
ABA Judicial Division and previously served as Chair of the Appellate Judges Conference. As a
member and as Chair of the Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) Board of Directors, Martin
has worked on a national level to support continuing education for appellate judges, appellate
lawyers, and appellate court staff attorneys. He chaired the 2008 AJEI Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.
He co-chaired the 2009 National Summit on Fair and Impartial State Courts, in which representatives
from thirty-eight jurisdictions participated and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.) served as
Honorary Host. Martin is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian
award in North Carolina. In November 2011, Martin was inducted into the Warren E. Burger Society
of the National Center for State Courts.
Martin is married to Kim Lake Martin and is the proud father of five children: Lauren, Anna, Sarah,
Nathaniel, and Susanna.