Matt Johnston (#Mattthelawyer) is a small business attorney. He has been in private practice since 2007 and launched his own practice, the Johnston Business Law Group in 2012.
Matt is also the co-owner of Jammy Jams, a music company creating lullaby music using popular music as the source material, and Very Important Parent, a company that sells Gumeez brand teething jewelry.
Matt joined Cowork Frederick in 2014. You can find him here just about every day.
Matt is passionate about staying involved and making a difference in the local community. He is a Board Member of the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County), Building Veterans (a group dedicated to helping veterans suffering from PTSD and addiction), and AIGA Blue Ridge (the largest community of design advocates). As a 2017 Graduate of Leadership Frederick County sponsored by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Matt also continues to work with the Leadership Frederick County Council and the Entrepreneur Council for the Chamber. When not geeking out about contracts, he geeks out about soccer, science fiction (and a bit of heavy metal music).
Why We Love Matt
We love how Matt thought about ways to make getting legal help more accessible and the law itself more understandable and created a business around it. We love how that makes him a bit of a rebel. We love how he’s down to earth, not stuffy, not “a suit”. We love how open and giving he is with information. His ability to generate quality content in his blog on a regular basis is, to be honest, a little intimidating (which is another way of saying he motivates us). We love how he always thinks from other’s perspective and looks for ways to can benefit from what he is doing. As an example, his blog is organized nicely to create a library of easy to find, useful information. We love how he thinks beyond law and connects the dots. A few years back, Matt gave a Lunch & Learn talk about the contracts we present our clients are among their earliest experiences of us and what it’s like to conduct business with us – about how those contracts not only need to be legally sound, but should reflect the brand and culture of our business. Smart stuff! We also love how much he gives back.
Q&A with Matt:
We say members of Cowork Frederick are “status-quo disrupters, a little renegade, a little unconventional”. How does that apply to you?
When I started my law practice I made a conscious effort to reject the “traditional” modes of lawyering. I focused on the under-served market of small businesses in an attempt to answer their needs in a way that didn’t mean unknown and scary monthly bills. I aimed and still aim to be a proactive problem avoider rather than a reactive problem solver. I have always tried to leverage technology and business processes to advise clients, in good times and, of course, in the tough times.
Which of the 8 guiding values defined by Cowork Frederick members speaks to you?
Collaboration. Collaboration is all about trust and a little vulnerability in the relationship. The relationship between a lawyer and a client is based on trust. Historically that trust was expected to be one way; the client had to trust the lawyer. But for a client-lawyer collaboration to excel, the lawyer must trust the client as much, if not more, than the reverse. For an effective relationship, both sides must recognize each contributes something valuable to the relationship. For those contributions to materialize, each side must admit that they don’t know everything and trust that the other party will not abuse that vulnerability.
Any legal tips in these times of COVID-19?
Yes. Head over to my blog.