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Attorney Steven Venezia: The idea is to come away with a solution
Steve Venezia, 30Home: Hillsborough
Birthplace: Billerica, Mass.
Family: Wife, Amanda; daughter, Gabriella
High school: Billerica Memorial High School
College/post grad degrees: Northeastern University School of Business (bachelor's degree in management and marketing); Northeastern University School of Law (Juris Doctorate)
Current job: Attorney at Upton & Hatfield
Key past positions held: Selectman, Town of Hillsborough; vice president and treasurer, Greater Hillsborough Area Chamber of Commerce; Hillsborough Economic Development Commission; Hillsboro-Deering School District Policy Committee member; Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) member for Southern and Central New Hampshire; Hillsborough Balloonfest Committee
Volunteer activities: See above. In addition, I try to volunteer to help the schools/students in any way I can, whenever I can, whether it be Career Day, Law Day or any other opportunity
Most admired person (outside your family): My childhood neighbor, Leonard Annese. He is an amazing father, husband and friend. He is honest, hard working and has been a father figure to me all my life. I have learned much of what I know from him and would not be where I am today without his guidance. He is a role model and support system to me. He has done all he has done for me, never asking for or expecting anything in return. He is involved in his community and always willing to volunteer to help out. For that, I admire him greatly.
Key current professional challenge: Differentiating myself amongst the many great lawyers in the State of New Hampshire in order to continue to build my client base. Another challenge is the general access to information people have these days. With that access to information, lawyers are often viewed less as specialists and more as necessary evils. It is up to us in the profession to be diligent counselors, look out for the best interest for our clients and ensure we are trying to obtain their goals.
Last major achievement: The last major achievement I had was not a professional one, but the birth of my daughter last April. It was the most exciting and exhausting thing I have ever been through and I was just an observer.
Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: We need to continue to attract young professionals and their families to the state in order to attract future businesses and industry. According to the latest data, New Hampshire is one of the oldest states in the country by demographic and appears to be getting older. A balance must be found between older and younger populations to ensure New Hampshire's success in the future. We must attract talented individuals and businesses in order to build communities that are economically and socially stable.
Favorite place in New Hampshire: To visit, North Conway. The family and I love to go to Zeb's when we are up there.
What book are you reading now? "Killing Lincoln"
How do you relax? I love to golf, watch sports, go for walks with my wife and daughter or just spend time with family.
What websites do you visit most often? Google, espn.com, realclearpolitics.com, weei.com, facebook.com
Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: I love "Modern Family," Ray Donovan, "Boardwalk Empire," "24," and many others.
"I've wanted to be a lawyer as long as I can remember," he said. "I liked to argue and I thought that's what I thought it was to be a lawyer, but I've learned it's not about that."
Venezia, 30, is an attorney at Upton & Hatfield, and he is putting his undergraduate degree in business administration from Northeastern University to work as he focuses his practice on business development, real estate, and estate planning.
Though he's a young face in the legal world, Venezia said he has had a strong mentor in Jim Raymond, the managing partner at his firm, who has helped open doors for him. But once through those doors, Venezia has had to work hard to prove that his experience and knowledge are greater than his age would suggest. But Venezia is up to the task.
"I've always been the youngest," he said. "I was the youngest in my family, in my first jobs I was always the youngest. I'm always combating this age thing."
Venezia also works to combat the perception of lawyers as "a necessary evil" in America, and he does this through communication.
"It's about building a rapport with them – talking with the client instead of talking at them," he said. "I need to appreciate, understand and listen to their goals, not tell them what to do."
Venezia said it's also a matter of building trust. He compared lawyers to mechanics because many people bringing their issues to members of either profession are at a disadvantage because they don't know how things work. So lawyers need to prove that they know what the problem is, and that they know how to fix it.
And he needs to be able to play well with other lawyers within New Hampshire's small legal community.
"I don't want to be seen as being combative just for the sake of being combative," said Venezia. "Often it's in my client's best interest to work with opposing counsel, not against opposing counsel. The idea is to come away with a solution."
But that doesn't mean Venezia won't fight for his clients. He just prefers to show his strength through informed arguments presented civilly.
When Venezia is not working with clients or at home with his wife and young daughter, he's out in the community of Hillsborough volunteering on various boards and committees. From the board of selectmen, where he volunteered to step in when another member resigned, to serving on the Greater Hillsborough Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsborough Economic Development Commission, the Hillsborough-Deering School District Policy Committee, Venezia stays active, helping his town and local communities. He balances his work, family and volunteer activities by prioritizing and being frank with people about where his priorities lie.
"And I have a very understanding wife," he said.
Nominations for Class of 2015
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