Martin J. Silverstein

An accomplished lawyer and a distinguished diplomat, Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein currently serves as a senior member of the Transition Team for President-elect Donald J. Trump. A lawyer for over 35 years, Silverstein works as an attorney in New York, New Jersey and Texas as senior counsel with an international law firm, practicing Global and Corporate & Securities law. President George W. Bush named Silverstein as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay just prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. A Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, Silverstein also sits as a Judge Pro Tempore in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.

Diplomatic Career

While serving as Ambassador to Uruguay from 2001 to 2005, Silverstein facilitated a $1.5 billion U.S. Treasury bridge loan to salvage Uruguay's banking system, pending receipt of an IMF loan. He also engineered the reopening of U.S. markets to banned Uruguayan commodities and fostered the signing of the first Bilateral Investment Treaty of the Bush Administration. These actions prompted the President of Uruguay to publicly credit President Bush with saving his government and preventing economic collapse.

Silverstein served as a Delegation Member to the MERCOSUR 4 plus 1 Council on Trade and Investment negotiations, a Delegation Member of the U.S.-Uruguay Joint Commission on Trade and Investment, and a member of the U.S. Presidential Delegation to the Uruguayan presidential inauguration.

Silverstein joined the President of the United States in Jerusalem, Israel as a member of the U.S. Honorary Delegation celebrating the founding of the State of Israel.

In 1999, Silverstein participated as a delegate on the Ukraine Presidential Election IRI Observation Mission.

Education and Legal Career

Silverstein received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers College in 1976, a Juris Doctor from Temple University Beasley School of Law (senior member of the Law Review) in 1979, and an LLM from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2008. He is a member of the bars of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Tax Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Silverstein maintains the highest possible AV rating for legal skills,integrity and professional excellence, reflecting the confidential opinion of members of the Bar and Judiciary, under the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating system and Client Review Rating System.

Awards and Recognition

The United States government decorated Ambassador Silverstein with the Superior Honor Award Medal, an uncommon recognition for a non-career ambassador. The U.S. government also awarded Silverstein the Foreign Affairs Award for public Service, presented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for "performance with exceptional dedication and distinction."

The President of Uruguay decorated Silverstein with the Medalla de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay, rank of Gran Oficial. Silverstein remains the only American citizen in history to receive Uruguay's highest honor.

In 2016, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and the President of the Texas State Bar recognized Silverstein for his outstanding delivery of legal services to low-income Texans and admitted him to the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas.

Silverstein received the Citizens Commendation for Bravery from the Philadelphia Police Department, as well as a Certificate of Merit for Service to Veterans from the U.S. Congress.

Silverstein has twice received the Maimonides Award from Magen David Adom.

Other Activities

Silverstein volunteered as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer with the Corporation for National & Community Service serving Habitat for Humanity in North Philadelphia.

In Uruguay, Silverstein served as Chairman emeritus of the Fulbright Scholar Program.

For 12 years, Silverstein was a Reserve Police Officer in Elizabeth, New Jersey and also served as a Constable.

The Pennsylvania State Senate twice confirmed Silverstein to serve as a Trustee of (Pennsylvania) Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS), a public pension fund with $54 billion in assets. At PSERS, Silverstein currently chairs the Elections Committee and serves on the Finance Investment and Corporate Governance Committees.

He also sits on the Federal Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel and Board of Visitors at Temple University School of Law. At the University of Pennsylvania, Silverstein also serves on the Board of Overseers at the School of Nursing Science and the Board of Governors of the University Club at Penn. He is a member of the Council of American Ambassadors and College of State Bar of Texas.


Silverstein's wife Audrey is also an attorney and they are the parents of six grown children. He speaks Spanish and Hebrew.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Uruguay, (2001 - 2005)

Areas of Expertise