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New BBA Blog "Tipping the Scales:" Learning from Leadership - Christine Netski

Welcome to the BBA’s newest blog ‘Tipping the Scales,’ devoted to providing leadership insights and practical information to our readers. We here at the BBA have the privilege of meeting dozens of accomplished and talented leaders as they pass through our doors, so our goal is to bring their personal advice to a broader and more accessible forum.

Tips from the Top

Christine M. Netski is a partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., where she focuses on business, employment, and product liability litigation.  She co-chairs the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. At the BBA, Chris serves on the Council and recently co-chaired the BBA Law Day Dinner. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Future of the Profession Task Force, Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, Chair of the Nominating Committee, Chair of theBoston Bar Journal Board of Editors, and as a member of the Annual Meeting Steering Committee. In addition, Chris serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and recently co-chaired the Women’s Bar Association’s Women’s Leadership Initiative.

1.      What has been your greatest challenge in your path to leadership? How did you overcome it?

Early on, I was sometimes hesitant to take on leadership roles because I was concerned about overcommitting and not being able to devote the necessary time and energy to be effective. In a sense, I set my limits too strictly. I’ve overcome this by learning that if I really want to be involved in a particular project and manage my priorities well, I can find the time. Now I say “yes” to opportunities that I am truly interested in pursuing and that I know will enable me to grow in some tangible way – whether professionally or personally.

2.      What is the most helpful leadership tip you ever received? From whom?

The most helpful tip I ever received was from my father, who held many leadership roles as a teacher, a public school administrator, and athletic coach. He taught me that above all, setting a good example is the foundation of good leadership.

 3.      As a leader, have you ever encountered team or group members who did not get along? How can a leader most effectively facilitate harmony in a group setting?

I have encountered this, but luckily not too often! When there is a disagreement in a group, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of the different perspectives and realize that underneath it all, it’s possible to find common ground. Sometimes, these sorts of disagreements come up because one or more group members are focusing on a different problem than the group is tasked with solving. It’s important to bring the group back to the central mission.

 4.      In your opinion, what are the top three qualities of an effective leader?

It’s hard to narrow it down – I would say that commitment to the undertaking, including the willingness to roll up your sleeves to get the work done, is critical. Another big one is effective communication, and especially the ability to listen. The ability to delegate is also very significant. Humility and a sense of humor help too!


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International Law Committees

  • Foreign Lawyers Committee
    This committee was developed through the BBA International Law Section to provide professional development opportunities to foreign lawyers in the Boston area. Its goal is to facilitate interaction, professional development and mentoring among its members. Membership in the FLC is open to attorneys who are trained and/or licensed to practice in other countries, living and practicing in Greater Boston and/or attending a graduate law program in the area. The FLC is also open to lawyers who have an interest in topics of international law discussed at its meetings. The FLC holds regular meetings to discuss current topics in international law and foreign law, with presentations by attorneys who are licensed to practice in other countries or have first-hand knowledge of the laws of other countries because of work experience.

    Contact Information

    Shaun Khan

    Metaxas Brown Pidgeon LLP

    Royston H. Delaney

    Delaney Kester LLP

  • International Environmental Law Committee
    This committee is for members interested in international environmental issues and the laws of foreign countries.

    Contact Information

    Cicely Ott Parseghian

    Foley Hoag LLP

    (617) 832-3038

    Stuart L. Canton

    (781) 652-0135

  • International Intellectual Property Law Committee
    This committee brings together practitioners and others concerned with the state of IP in multiple countries and pursuant to multinational accords. Areas covered include perfection and protection of IP rights, defenses against IP abuses, technology transfer and other licensing and venture transactions, as well as collateral affecting IP development and exploitation.

    Contact Information

    Hsuanyeh Chang

    Burns & Levinson LLP

    (617) 345-3218

    Asya Calixto

    Prince Lobel Tye LLP

    (617) 456-8110

  • International Public Law, Policy and Human Rights
    This committee addresses public international law and human rights, with a particular focus on parts of the world that have witnessed long-standing conflict.

    Contact Information

    Elizabeth Holland

    Foley Hoag LLP

    (617) 832-1178

    Lisa Laplante

    New England Law Boston

    (617) 451-0010

  • International Tax Committee
    This committee covers international taxation issues. Treasury and IRS officials periodically are invited to address the committee.

    Contact Information

    Nelson Suit

    Burt, Staples & Maner, LLP

    (202) 783-1500

    Laura Thompson

    KPMG, LLP

  • International Transactions Committee
    This committee deals with issues related to both international commercial business transactions and international financial transactions.

    Contact Information

    Veronica Himmel

    (508) 282-9828

    Gina Plata-Nino

    Massachusetts Appeals Court

    (973) 800-6681

  • Steering Committee
    The leadership committee of the Section organizes programs and discusses policy. To inquire about opportunities, please contact the Section Co-Chairs.