Boston may be known for its concentration of top-notch colleges and universities. ButRalph C. Martin II, the general counsel at Northeastern University, worries about the repercussions if city officials take that position for granted. Students flock to Boston today, Martin said, but there’s no guarantee that will continue.

“In order for (higher education) to continue to be a driver of the local and state economy, we can’t afford to just assume that Boston is going to be the kind of place that continues to attract students from around the state, around the country and around the world,” Martin said.

Martin came to Northeastern University after a career in the public and private sector. He served as Suffolk County’s district attorney from 1992 until 2002. He later joined Bingham McCutchen and was named managing partner in 2008. He was one of the few African Americans in leading roles at major law firms in Boston.