Naomi Martin and Robyn Uri: Lighting the Path to Justice

Newmark Storms Dworak LLC has much to celebrate in this, its decennial year. Founded in 2013 by MSBA certified criminal trial specialist Eric Newmark, the firm expanded in 2015 to include a personal injury and civil rights practice. With the addition of partners Jeff Storms and Paul Dworak, both of whom have been honored as Minnesota’s Attorneys of the Year multiple times for their record-breaking recoveries on behalf of plaintiffs in high-profile civil rights and personal injury cases, the firm has continued to make headlines by achieving acquittals and other excellent results for criminal defendants and historic settlements for injured plaintiffs.

With new office space and rapidly evolving practices in sexual abuse and employment discrimination, the firm recently welcomed two new lawyers who, like their counterparts, are as tough as they are smart. “The additions of Naomi Martin and Robyn Uri reflect the increasingly large number of clients seeking to retain our services and our commitment to growing a firm with a primary emphasis on protecting the rights of individuals,” Storms stated. “Like the rest of our team, Naomi and Robyn both possess the academic and commonsense skills necessary to see and cut through the defenses of powerful opponents.”

Naomi Martin is from Minnesota and her journey in the law began when, as a junior at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, she stepped in as a co-guardian of an older sister who struggles with severe mental health challenges. “The process of gaining guardianship was intimidating. I had no idea about the legal system, and I eventually got help from an attorney. In that moment when she said, ‘Okay I can help,’ a weight was lifted. I remember thinking, thank God somebody knows what’s going on. And her knowledge of the law was power. It was inspiring and planted the seed that maybe this was something I could do.”

Martin made first contact with Newmark Storms Dworak while still in law school. “I did my homework on who are the absolute best attorneys in the Twin Cities. I arranged an introduction meeting while in law school, and I was so impressed after I met with Jeff in terms of how the firm was structured, the work they do and the caliber of attorneys.”

Martin graduated among the top 10% of her class at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. She returned to Minnesota and worked as a law clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the United States District Court, where she refined her understanding of both judicial procedure and the art of advocacy. With her characteristic tenacity, Martin remained in touch with the firm, and when she was ready to transition her career last fall, Newmark Storms Dworak was her first call.

While Martin is adding depth to the firm’s personal injury and civil rights practices, much of her work is centered on growing its employment and discrimination practice. She brings the kind of communication, compassion and creativity to her work that the firm prizes. Currently, she is handling a high-profile whistleblower case that has been the subject of media attention. “I feel lucky get to do such important work so early in my career. The partners have been awesome about creating opportunities for me.”

Originally from the Jersey Shore, Robyn Uri was an undergrad at Barnard College of Columbia University when she read an exposé in the New Yorker on the controversial Cameron Todd Willingham death penalty case. Willinghams’ story had a powerful impact on her, and she made up her mind that she would not only go to law school, but would make criminal defense her crusade. Uri distinguished herself as a student at Tulane University Law School, where she worked in the university’s Criminal Defense Clinic, interned at the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana and graduated cum laude. “I knew that the way to prevent things like this from happening would be to work at the trial level.”

A professor recommended that Uri apply to the Hennepin County Public Defender’s office, an agency renowned for its robust defense work. There, she cultivated the blend of toughness and humanity that makes her so effective in the courtroom. “I loved every minute of my seven-and-a-half years there. I loved my clients, and I got a great sense of pride from representing people accused of crimes, especially those who were vulnerable and not able to afford a criminal defense attorney. But it’s also difficult work. I decided to try something new, and I worked for a year doing plaintiff’s employment work.”

After taking maternity leave with her new baby, Uri joined Newmark Storms Dworak in February of this year. She brings significant felony defense experience to the firm’s cornerstone criminal practice, while also providing experienced support to its growing employment and discrimination practice. “Since the firm opened its employment discrimination practice and I had experience in both, this felt like an ideal fit. I have my own criminal cases around the state, and Eric and I work on bigger cases together. It’s great because we bring different strengths that complement each other.”

As a new mom, Uri says the firm has supported her transition back to the courtroom. “It was daunting coming out of maternity leave and wondering how I would be able to balance being a working mom. I feel like that aspect of my life has not counted against me. The partners are very flexible, and I appreciate that they trust me to work remotely if I need to. Being back in the courtroom is really exciting, and this is a wonderful new chapter in my personal and professional life. This is where my heart is.”

At this 10-year milestone, Storms’ outlook for the firm is bright. “The addition of Naomi and Robyn has been energizing. This is a great place to be right now. We’re working on big cases, and everyone is kind and respectful to each other while demanding high-quality work on issues that matter.”

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