Mark Padilla was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1956, the son of parents who had just moved to the United States from Argentina. The family started a steel manufacturing business, which is how he made his living until his late 20s. Then he moved to Atlanta and enrolled at Georgia State University. He got his undergraduate degree the year he turned 30, and his law degree at 35.

Padilla remembers vividly the exact defining moment when he decided to become a lawyer.

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