As the sunrise peeks over Ozark’s downtown lofts, Jessica Martin is often the first to arrive at her office on the corner of the historical square. Attorney and managing partner of family and criminal law practice Martin & Wall LLC, she’s also known as last to leave in the evenings. In the time between unlocking and locking the office door, Martin engages in work across the spectrum.
“I will not ask someone else to do something I am unwilling to do myself,” she says. “So, no matter the task that needs to be done – taking out the trash, dealing with a difficult client, etc. – I am always willing.”
Martin graduated from University of Missouri in 2008 with a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies. She stayed at MU to study law, graduating in 2011.
After trying real estate and business law, Martin found her interest in family law. In the summer of 2012, Martin opened her practice: Martin Law LLC on the downtown square of Ozark.
“Through hard work, the firm expanded to include support staff, and eventually other attorneys,” Martin says.
In 2015, attorney Judson Wall joined and became a partner in the firm, which in 2017 changed its name to Martin & Wall LLC.
Martin says she was one of the first in her graduating class to open a firm, and she became a sounding board for colleagues interested in doing the same. She also invests in the next generation by welcoming students for job shadowing and internships.
“I am always willing to try to share any knowledge I have with those around me to help in their own endeavors,” she says.
Martin was recognized this year with the Women in Justice Award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Christian County Children’s Charities Sertoman of the Year in 2015 and the 2013 Volunteer Award from domestic violence shelter Freedom’s Rest.
But Martin is most proud of her 2015 appointment as juvenile court guardian ad litem for Christian County.
“It is my responsibility to be the voice of the best interests of the children in these court proceedings,” she says. “It is important for their voices to be heard.”
Joanna Billingsley – owner of Law Office of Joanna V. Billingsley PC – has worked numerous cases with and opposite of Martin. She describes Martin as “a prepared and skillful advocate for her clients.”
“She brings a strong voice for those who are among the most marginalized in our society,” Billingsley says, noting she has always walked away with respect for the attorney.
Martin also works with numerous organizations including as chairwoman of the board for CCCC Sertoma Club, president of the Christian County Bar Association and board member for Christian County Library Foundation.
“I have always been a motivated and driven person,” Martin says. “Setting goals and making plans to reach those goals are normal parts of my business, as well as having applications in philanthropic endeavors and my personal life.”
Cuban cuisine arrived on C-Street with the opening of La Habana Vieja; independent brokerage Gateway Real Estate opened its first office; and a veteran of the restaurant industry invested in her first food truck.
Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach of Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football, says the early grind was hard, but it was worth it. The team is in their second season carrying a national ranking of number 2 in the NFA IDFL.
Barak Hill, local musician and entrepreneur, tells about his switch to livestreaming in 2020. He says it was a necessary move, but also not an easy one.
Jessica Burkland, a SCORE mentor and an instructor at the MSU Department of Management, gives us a rundown of the non-profit organization SCORE. SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and offers free consultation and advice to business owners.
Hollie Elliott, the executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, discusses some of the ways helping small town businesses is different than in larger cities. The Dallas County Economic Development Group is a 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at helping local existing and new businesses in the county.