Mark D. Martin is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. With twenty-two 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.