Justin Starling spotlight1. Tell us about your practice.

My practice focuses on complex commercial real estate and financial transactions. I assist clients in the acquisition, financing, development, and sale of commercial properties. Most of my practice focuses on developer/borrower representation, but I also regularly represent banks in making loans secured by real estate. I am fortunate to be a part of a team that represents several public real estate investments trusts, which allows me to work on transactions in many different states. Prior to my law career, I studied city and regional planning and worked for several years as an urban planner, so I have specific experience in land development and zoning issues. Given this background in urban planning, I particularly enjoy working on development and redevelopment projects and deals that involve public incentives and public/private partnerships.

2. What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice? 

Memphis has recently begun to see more significant new real estate development and redevelopment similar to what we’ve encountered in other parts of the country, including a number of large redevelopment projects in the downtown and central city areas. The firm has been involved in a number of these projects, including the Crosstown Concourse redevelopment, the redevelopment of Overton Square, and the current Central Station redevelopment project. Many of these redevelopment projects involve complicated financing structures that include capital from many different sources. The projects often also involve some public component, in form of grants, tax incentives, or, some cases, joint ventures with local government entities. I have enjoyed working on these projects and getting to be a part of this exciting transformation of the city.

3. Why did you choose to pursue a career in the legal field?

I’ve always had an academic interest in the law, but as a college student I wasn’t drawn to the law as a career. My initial career objectives were centered around my interests in real estate development and public policy, which led me to pursue a graduate degree and career as an urban planner. Working for a local government as an urban planner, I was exposed to how the law and urban development are intertwined and how lawyers can assist developers and investors in building and rebuilding our cities. It was in this role that I first saw a place for me in the legal profession. I decided to go to law school, and I’ve been happy with that decision ever since. I now get to enjoy working every day with great clients who are doing great projects.