Attorney Steven Venezia: The idea is to come away with a solution
HILLSBOROUGH — In fifth grade, Steven Venezia sat down and wrote himself a letter to be opened when he was in high school. In the letter, Venezia told his older self that he wanted to be a lawyer, and it's seems that fifth-grader was right.
"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.