Then & Now: Josh Mostyn takes advice from dying mom to heart

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 150 views 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story appeared in the June 25 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s  Forty Under 40 class.

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A good lawyer is a good listener. Josh Mostyn has proved himself to be both.

In August 2008, Mostyn was chosen by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal as a Forty Under 40 honoree. Five years earlier, after earning a business administration degree from the University of North Texas, he’d moved to Northwest Arkansas intent on being successful in the real estate industry.

He was familiar with the region’s potential mainly through his mother. For six years, Lynda Mostyn was chief financial officer for Pinnacle Group, a privately held company led by Johnnie Bryan “J.B.” Hunt, Bill Schwyhart, Tim Graham and Rob Thornton, which developed Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers and other commercial properties along Interstate 49.

Josh Mostyn initially worked for two years on Jerry Vest’s banking team at Regions Bank in Rogers as a commercial lender. He then went into business for himself, and from 2005 to 2009 enjoyed success through a number of ventures ranging from collection, commercial real estate and development and mortgage services.

But if the Forty Under 40 nod was a professional highlight for Mostyn in 2008, the remainder of the year was beset by personal tragedy. In March, Linda Mostyn was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer. Her son stayed by her side for the final months of her life, through numerous trips to Little Rock, even sleeping at the hospital near her bedside.

As the real estate market began to slip that year, Mostyn recalled one of the final pieces of advice from his mom.

“You need to think about transitioning into a different line of business,” Linda Mostyn told her son.

Mostyn appeased his mother, and thought his outlook on the market was more optimistic than hers.

“I think you’re wrong. Are you sure?” Mostyn responded.

“Well, you can’t just sit here next to my bed all day. You need to be doing something productive. Why don’t you go get an LSAT [Law School Admission Test] book and go to law school?”

Linda Mostyn died on Jan. 31, 2009. That night, her son listened to her advice and applied to law school at the University of Arkansas. He graduated cum laude in 2012 with a juris doctor degree.

“I honestly thought I would go and learn about real estate law and come out a little bit more marketable to a private equity group or real estate development firm,” Mostyn said. “While I was there I enjoyed the trial competition and study of law, and decided I wanted to practice law in the general sense.”

While at the UA, Mostyn gained experience as an extern to Congressman Steve Womack’s 3rd District office in Rogers for a semester. He also spent a summer clerking for the Tyson Foods legal department. His supervisor, senior counsel Loriane Pickell, also impacted his career path “more than she knows,” Mostyn said, and the experience at the meat giant gave him a taste of different corporate legal functions including employment law, government compliance, contracting and litigation.

Those are a few of the services offered at Mostyn Prettyman PLLC, a Bentonville-based general practice firm Mostyn  started in 2012 with a UA law school classmate, Will Prettyman.

The firm is also the result of listening to advice this time from Howard Brill, a UA law professor since 1975. In the summer of 2012, Mostyn and Prettyman happened to be on the UA campus at the same time, and they ran into Brill. He asked where they were working, and they explained how extremely competitive the job market was for newly minted attorneys.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you just open a law practice together?’” Mostyn said. “We said, ‘Yeah, right,’ and he said, ‘No, seriously. I think you guys would make it.’”

Brill was right. Mostyn Prettyman has expanded its practice areas, and in 2017 moved from Rogers to a larger office on North Walton Boulevard in Bentonville. The firm now employs six attorneys and is planning to hire three more imminently.

Mostyn, 38, has served the past three years in and is outgoing president of the Benton County Bar Association. He was also appointed in 2016 to a four-year term on the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which examines incarceration rates in the state.

Mostyn and his wife Tammy have two boys, ages 9 and 4.

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