Meet Matt DeNoncour is a seemingly mild mannered attorney who recently arrived in Beantown to grow his practice. Throughout the week, Matt can be seen at his desk blending in with the rest of the co-working professionals here at the Hub. But underneath the glasses and relaxed demeanor lies a black belt and a budding master of illusion.
“I regret never learning how to sew.”
Matt is the managing partner of Magis Law, P.C. and he specializes in transactional law, working specifically with start-ups in healthcare technology. And while his practice is growing, becoming an attorney wasn’t his dream. Instead it was the theater that made his heart beat. I spoke with Matt about his work, his #sidehustles, and how it all fits together.
- With an undergraduate degree in theatre arts, how did you end up becoming a lawyer?
“I graduated in ’09 and like everyone else I was scared to go into the job market. Plus, I knew I wasn’t done with studying. I felt I was capable of more. But I also made the poor choice of listening to other people and fell for that trap.”
That trap being law school. But despite hating it, Matt had the grit he learned from his martial arts instructor to stare down any challenge and overcome it. Martial arts resonated with Matt so much that he became a student of it, achieved two black belts and has been teaching children for nearly 18 years.
- What is it about martial arts that you love?
“I love the physical and mental aspect of it. My greatest joy is that I’ve been given this gift of knowledge that I can share with others. And my goal as a teacher is to make the person I’m teaching better than me. I want them to kick higher, punch stronger and walk down the street with more confidence in themselves.”
- Would you say that marital arts has impacted your life?
“Not entirely, as you learn different values from different sources. But martial arts gave me the skill of teaching and the ability to get points across because martial arts is an expertise much like law. I also learned to always overcome ‘I can’t’ which is a mindset my marital arts instructor who was in the military taught me. This helped me to get through law school because law school sucked.”
“The current title of this chapter of my life? OMG, it’s working!”
- You didn’t like law school? Why not?
“Because law school is nothing like the practice of law. In law school, they train you to think like a lawyer but not actually practice law. Once I graduated, I had to learn again. I technically had to learn the law three times. The first time was in law school, the second when I took the bar and the third time was when I began to practice where I was baptized by fire. I had a boss who really challenged me but I appreciated it because it made me take initiative for my own learning. The greatest advantage law gave me was knowing the meaning of words.
Matt started his own practice after getting laid off and watching too many Price Is Right reruns. As he puts it, “I got tried of relying on other people and wanted to make my own opportunities.” Now with two years under his belt, Matt believes the risk was well worth it. He’s happier and loves the opportunities here in Boston. He often leans back from his Hub desk, looks at the Boston skyline and says to himself, “I did it.”
But if you blink fast enough, you may catch Matt dashing into a phone booth and emerge with cards in hand. Reigning from the planet of Theater Arts, don’t be surprised if you see him practicing magic with fellow Hubber Alec Lai and Branch Foodie John Logan. And while magic doesn’t define him, he enjoys the entertaining aspect and essence of storytelling that magic brings.
- What’s a Hub routine you never deviate from?
“Go say Hi to Alec. He’s the reason why I got into magic, how I came to Impact Hub, and why my practice is so successful.”
- Speaking of magic, do you still feed that artistic side of you?
“Not really. I was very active in Florida, I was on stage more there because I had the flexibility in my life that I don’t currently have. In time it will come back and I’ll be able to do it.”
Matt heralds his Theatre Arts degree as serving him the most out of all three degrees he holds. It was on the stage where he learned crucial soft skills, the confidence to get in front of people, successfully tackle problem solving, project management and analysis.
But one thing he does regret is not learning how to sew and taking costume design and construction in college. He did take stagecraft and beams about his ability to wield any tool to build anything. He is proud to be the handy man his one day future wife will love. With such a wealth of skills here at the Hub, maybe it’s time for Impact Hub’s rendition of “Romeo & Juliet”? Stay tuned!