Matt Bartle has been practicing law since 1990. After spending 15 years defending large and small companies while working for national defense firms, Matt decided to open his own law firm with David Marcus in 2005. Since then, Matt has been representing entrepreneurs and business owners who have business disputes with other businesses, primarily on a contingency fee basis. Matt also represents businesses and individuals who have suffered investment losses. At least half of his cases involve arbitrations. He has handled hundreds of cases all over the United States in state and federal court and in arbitration. From 1998 until 2010, Matt served in the Missouri legislature. He was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 8 years.
Matt and his wife of 26 years, Annette, have a 21-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter. Matt is a backpacking fanatic who loves to disappear for a week at a time into the backcountry. He runs a fitness and wellness program on Saturdays for morbidly obese and diabetic men at no cost to participants.
Where are you from?
I was born in Columbia, Missouri. We lived in Kansas City and St. Louis when I was in grade school, but moved back to Columbia. I graduated from Hickman High in Columbia.
Where did you attend college and law school?
After high school graduation, I simply moved across town to start at Mizzou. Both of my folks were Mizzou grads and most of my extended family went to school there. I grew up with Mizzou football and basketball. At Mizzou, I graduated magna cum laude in 1987 with a B.A. in economics, was a member of the Mystical 7 Honor Society and was in Phi Beta Kappa. I figured that it would do me some good to go to law school outside of Missouri, so I decided to attend Northwestern University in Chicago. The move from Columbia to downtown Chicago was a big change, but I quickly came to love Chicago.
What brought you to Kansas City?
My wife, Annette, and I met the summer before I started law school and we were married after my second year in law school. After graduating cum laude in 1990 with a J.D. from Northwestern, I had a one-year judicial clerkship for a judge on the federal court of appeals. That clerkship was in Louisiana. We decided to move to Kansas City because I had political aspirations.
Why did you decide to run for public office?
Most Missouri fourth graders take a trip to the state capitol in Jefferson City. I was mesmerized by what I experienced that day. A fire was lit. It took me a long time to pay off my student loans from my schooling, but once those were paid, I decided to pursue my dream of running for public office. In 1998, I was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and in 2002, I was elected to the Missouri Senate. I thoroughly enjoyed my 12 years of service in the Missouri legislature. Throughout my time in the legislature, I maintained my law practice. When my eight-year term limit was up in the Senate, it was nice to focus exclusively on my law practice.
What do you enjoy about being a lawyer?
They say that most people fear public speaking more than death. Public speaking is my passion. I love to listen to and learn from excellent speakers. Throughout my life, I have worked to hone my ability to share ideas in the most compelling and interesting way possible. It gives me great joy to stand in front of a judge, a jury or a group of arbitrators to advocate on behalf of my client. Every time I speak, even on topics that most folks would consider tedious, I make it my personal challenge to bring the topic to life and to capture the imagination of my audience. In law school, they teach you to make your legal briefs formal and boring. I have rejected that throughout my career. Judges are human beings and most are eager not to be bored by the lawyer speaking. A boring lawyer will usually lose. I never want to be boring.
What do you dislike about being a lawyer?
Lots of lawyers fuss and fight over unimportant side issues. Although I am a passionate and tenacious advocate for my client, I have little patience for those who want to fight for fighting sake. That approach almost always backfires.
Where are you admitted to practice law?
My bar admissions and licenses include Missouri, Kansas, the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas.
Why should I hire you?
I will not be outworked. I treat my client’s case as if it were my own. I will tell you the truth about your case, whether it is good news or bad news. My clients end up being my close friends.