Sixteen years after founding what has become one of the region’s most respected and successful multi-disciplinary, multi-state law firms Attorneys David Betras, Brian Kopp, and Mike Harshman announced today that Attorney Justin Markota will become an equity partner in the firm which will now operate as Betras, Kopp, and Markota (BK&M). Atty. Harshman will continue to serve as a senior advisor to BK&M.
“Since joining us in 2015, Justin has become an integral and essential member of our legal team,” BK&M Managing Partner David Betras said. “His outstanding performance in multiple areas of the law impressed us, the legal community, and most importantly his clients. His partnership is hard-earned, well-deserved and signals our ongoing commitment to the Valley.”
Atty. Markota, a Girard, Ohio native who graduated from Ursuline High School, Youngstown State University, and Capital Law School in Columbus said he is both pleased and proud to be a part of the firm Attorneys Betras and Kopp worked tirelessly to build and expand.
“In 2015, two of the area’s most prominent lawyers took a chance on local kid who had just passed the bar exam,” Atty. Markota said. “They gave me a desk, a chair, a computer, some business cards and immediately began teaching me what you can’t learn from a textbook or by sitting in a lecture hall: how to practice law in the real world.”
“David and Brian mentored me, generously shared their experience, insight, and knowledge, and allowed me to work alongside them on high-stakes criminal and complex personal injury and business litigation cases,” he continued. “The extraordinary amount of time they devoted to my continuing legal education helped me become the attorney I am today and prepared me to be their partner. I am grateful for the trust and confidence they placed in me over the past seven years and I look forward to practicing alongside them for many, many more.”
“It did not take David and I long to recognize Justin’s intellect, talent and potential,” Atty. Kopp said. “He was eager to learn, more than willing to put in hundreds of hours doing research and preparing exhibits, and he actively sought to be involved in and take responsibility for the toughest, most complicated criminal and personal injury cases being handled in the office.”
As a result of his work on those cases, which included gaining an acquittal in federal court for a client charged with a serious firearms-related offense and securing millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for accident and injury victims, he was named to BK&M’s Complex Litigation Practice Group in 2020 and offered a partnership this year.
“Justin has repeatedly proved that he can take on and defeat the white shoe law firms, giant insurance companies, and prosecutors we regularly face in court and at the negotiating table,” Kopp said. “He can’t be intimidated or deterred from zealously pursuing justice for our clients. And that makes him both an incredibly effective attorney and valuable member of our team.”
David Betras noted that Justin’s partnership will extend a family tradition that began in 1929. “For nearly a century residents of the Valley have relied on us to meet their legal needs,” he said. “It started in 1929 when my Uncle Pete opened a small law office in downtown Youngstown. When my dad, Joe, returned from serving in World War II, he used the GI Bill to go to law school and joined him. After being immersed in the law our entire lives my cousin Brian and I launched our first firm in 1999, and now, two decades and thousands of satisfied clients later, Brian, I and our cousin Justin are ready to write a new chapter in our family’s legal legacy.”
Both Betras and Kopp said that Mike Harshman’s decision to step away from day-to-day involvement in the firm, while understandable, is bittersweet. “In 2005 Mike, David, and I began building a dynamic firm that has made a real difference in thousands of people’s lives,” Kopp said. “We will always be grateful for the advice and counsel he provided along the way, and we are pleased that he will continue to serve in an advisory role as we move forward.”
Atty. Markota’s biography may be viewed here: https://bkmlaws.com/team-members/justin-markota/. He may be reached by phone at 33-746-8484.