Attorney and entrepreneur Justin Marti is passionate about helping families, startups, and business owners in his community with a variety of legal needs. After a successful experience co-founding and selling a $50 million dental group to private equity, he transitioned to law and, in 2019 he opened Marti Law Group, a boutique law firm focused on real estate, title, and business transactions.

An efficient networker, Justin connected with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price in 2020.  The two recently caught up to talk about his impact in the Hartford Region’s entrepreneur community.

NAN PRICE: You’ve been on an interesting entrepreneurial journey. It really lends itself to helping others by sharing your experience and knowledge. Tell us a little about how you got from A to B.

JUSTIN MARTI: I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I first acted on it in my mid-20s, figuring it’s okay to fail now. At the time, I was working in sales when I was approached with an opportunity to help a dentist grow and scale his business.

That evolved to me co-founding a management company for dentists. We helped that dentist build one office, then built another, and just kept scaling. After about 10 years, we had several partners and had opened 40 dental practices. I wound up working out of West Hartford, which is how I got to Connecticut.

In 2018, we decided to sell the company to a private equity company. Along the way, I had this bug, like I needed to be doing something more. Transitioning out of that company got me thinking: What’s next? I decided to go to law school, which was twofold; I wanted to stimulate myself and become more aware in running our business.

I passed the bar and began working with a mergers and acquisition firm where I was working with a lot of companies similar to the one I had just sold. It was a good job…but something didn’t feel right. I kept thinking: I’m an entrepreneur in my soul. What am I doing? So, in 2019 I decided to hang my shingle.

NAN: You’ve become very involved in the small business community here. How do you and the law firm support other entrepreneurs and small business owners?

JUSTIN: I think offering a flat fee model makes us more approachable. Beyond negotiating and drafting purchase and sales agreements, I hope to act as a conduit connecting business owners to local resources, whether it’s someone in economic development or funding.

On the real estate side, we work with investors and developers—connections I made before I was an attorney. And, our firm has been working on some projects in different parts of town that are starting to grow, like New Park.

One of my favorite projects is WeHa Brewing and Roasting. I remember speaking with Cody when this was just in the concept phase. He was talking about opening a café and taproom, essentially a place to both start and end your day. I recall thinking: This is genius! Our firm was eager to be involved. We provided advising and helped Cody negotiate a lease. Working with him along the way has been an incredible journey. We can’t wait until they open their doors!

I feel like I probably wear my advisor hat more than my lawyer hat. I love working with startups. In addition to Marti Law Group, I’ve been advising startups through the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) at the University of Connecticut. I also recently joined the economic development committee at the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce.

NAN: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along your entrepreneurial journey?

JUSTIN: You really do learn way more from your mistakes. While my dental group was a big victory, I’ve also had many failures. For example, I launched an e-commerce brand My Hustle My Fight, an apparel company with a great cause behind it, which is still in operation. With COVID-19, it’s been a little slow, but it hasn’t been the huge success I wanted. I’ve dabbled in other things, like franchising, that just didn’t take. Honestly, with all of it, I’ve learned you just have to stay at it. You have to be unrelenting.

Everyone says find something you love. Find something you’re willing to put your blood, sweat, and tears into. Stay at it, build your network, and use your resources. I can’t emphasize that enough. And, we’re truly blessed with resources in this region. We have it all.

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Photo: Justin Marti of Marti Law Group (right) with Ulysses M. Whitehead of UMW Law.