From Immigrant To Advocate: Jany Martinez-Ward’s Inspiring Story

Photo Courtesy of: Ward Law Group

Jany Martinez-Ward’s journey to her American dream was far from typical. As a young girl, she emigrated from Cuba to Venezuela with her family, seeking a better life. However, when conditions in Venezuela deteriorated, they embarked on a perilous journey north, ultimately reaching the U.S. border at Matamoros-Brownsville. What followed was a challenging ordeal that tested her resilience and inspired her to become a lawyer dedicated to helping Spanish-speaking immigrants navigate the complex legal landscape.

A Rocky Start

At just 14 years old, Jany found herself at the U.S. border, unable to speak English and holding a backpack with the family’s meager belongings. The separation from her mother, Silvia Jardines, who was arrested and detained, was heart-wrenching. Jany and her baby brother were placed in foster care while their mother’s immigration case was under review. This abrupt transition from their family and home to unfamiliar foster homes was unsettling.

“It was a really dire situation,” recalls Martinez-Ward. “We knew that it was temporary, but it was scary coming from a family and a home to a foster home where you don’t have control over when to eat, shower, or even what to wear.”

 Photo Courtesy of: Ward Law Group

The Pursuit of the American Dream

Miami was their chosen destination because, for many Cuban immigrants, it represented the gateway to the American Dream. However, the path to realizing that dream was far from straightforward. It took more than a year for Silvia’s asylum case to be approved, and navigating the intricacies of U.S. immigration law left Martinez-Ward feeling overwhelmed.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” she admits. “Dealing with the law was really difficult.”

The Road to Becoming a Lawyer

These challenges fueled Martinez-Ward’s determination to become a lawyer specializing in assisting Spanish-speaking immigrants. Overcoming hurdles that included discouraging comments about her English proficiency, she earned double bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Spanish literature from the University of Florida. She went on to obtain a J.D. at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law in Davie.

Advocating for Immigrant Communities

Martinez-Ward’s commitment to her mission led her to focus on representing immigrants seeking compensation after vehicle accidents. She believed that by helping individuals in these situations, she could make a meaningful impact on their health and their families’ well-being.

Founding Ward Law Group

Teaming up with Gregory Ward, whom she had met during law school, they formed Ward Law Group in 2012. Their shared vision centered on assisting Hispanic accident victims, a stark departure from legal work that often prioritizes minimizing victim settlements.

Despite humble beginnings, Ward Law Group has gone on to recover $500 million for its clients. One notable case involved a woman whose Ford Explorer was struck by a Mack Trucks trailer on Florida’s Turnpike. She endured severe injuries, required surgery, and spent weeks in the hospital.

Resilience Amidst Adversity

In 2021, when local courts closed due to COVID-19, the firm negotiated with the truck driver’s insurer and secured a $2 million settlement. Martinez-Ward proudly points out that this was one of the largest settlements in Miami during that period, despite the challenging circumstances.

In addition to this, the firm recently achieved a confidential settlement in excess of $100 million for another client. Ward Law’s impressive track record has earned it a reputation in the immigrant community, leading to significant growth. The firm now employs 140 staff members across its Miami Lakes and Kissimmee offices and has even expanded to Manhattan.

A Fulfilling Life for the Family

Jany’s mother, Silvia, has also found fulfillment in the U.S. as she became a teacher and has been a supportive presence in Jany’s life, particularly with her twins, Chloe and Kaylee. Juggling the responsibilities of their expanding practice with family life and community service, Jany and Gregory often involve their children in their service projects.

Jany Martinez-Ward’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of unwavering determination. Her path from adversity to success is an inspiration to us all, and her commitment to helping others achieve their American dreams continues to make a positive impact in immigrant communities.