While living in Boston, Massachusetts, Martha Wingate founded a nonprofit organization that connected families experiencing homelessness to community resources with the goal of helping them get back into housing. That’s when she first considered law school. “I realized how much the clients I was working with needed legal help,” she says. “I was constantly interacting with attorneys and recognized that if I wanted to keep doing this kind of work, it would be really helpful to have a law degree.”
At BYU Law, Wingate has worked as the lead student fellow of the Law School’s Community Legal Clinic, which provides free legal services to clients in matters such as immigration, contracts, and housing. “Working with the clinic has been tremendously meaningful. I always feel uplifted and energized when I have the opportunity to listen to people. I love knowing that I can make a difference by helping to resolve something legally that will help them move forward,” she says. “It’s inspiring that BYU Law is investing in the community in this way.”
After graduation, Wingate will join Ray Quinney & Nebeker and will be involved with immigration, mergers and acquisitions, and estate planning. “The first years of practice are a continued part of your education,” she says. “I’m excited to be around top-notch attorneys that I can learn so much from.” Wingate also hopes to stay engaged with BYU Law’s immigration efforts. “The Law School has a relationship with No More A Stranger, a foundation that advocates on behalf of individuals from immigrant, migrant, and refugee backgrounds––that’s something that I’m really interested in working on,” she says.
One thing that surprised Wingate about law school was the positive impact it had on her family. She and her husband, David Wingate, an assistant professor in BYU’s Computer Science Department, have nine children between the ages of 3 and 16. “My children have been really engaged in school with me. We have great legal discussions and have even held court on how to work through family disputes,” Wingate says. “It has been fantastic to have them be such a big part of my experience.”