Christine Nicholas was born in Lynn, Mass., an old mill town on the ocean, and grew up in Lynnfield, Mass., in the Boston area. She is the fifth of seven children in her family, and has three brothers and three sisters. She was the captain of her field hockey team in high school, loved skating on ponds behind her house in the winter, and was “kind of horse crazy.”
So, how did she become the first woman president of a 60-year-old law firm in Boise, Idaho?
Nicholas says she fell in love with the Stanley Basin on family summer vacation cross-country trips from Massachusetts to Twin Falls. And so, after getting a bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts School of Business Administration, she decided she wanted to go to law school and wanted to move to Idaho. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Initially, she was unsure which direction she would take, but found she really enjoyed the “problem solving” part. “I knew pretty quick I did not want to be Perry Mason,” Nicholas says. “I wanted to be a business lawyer, help clients buy and sell businesses, to buy, sell and develop commercial real estate. I like to put things together,” she says. “I feel I partner with my clients to help them achieve their business goals.”
Nicholas says her personal philosophy of “do the right thing” has always been a guiding factor, and lists her parents as being the most important influences in her life. From her mother, she says she learned the value of putting others above self. And her father taught her the importance of self-discipline. She remembers going to her father after getting into a fight with her brothers. He told her: you should have had the self-discipline not to get involved. “I have found that self-discipline is an important trait to have,” Nicholas says.
In addition to her role as president at Moffatt Thomas, she says being named a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, being named a Fellow in the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, and getting the 2009 Burton Award for Legal Excellence have been her greatest accomplishments. Of the latter, she was doubly thrilled to receive the award at a Library of Congress ceremony featuring Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
In her spare time, Nicholas spends time with her husband of 32 years, Brian, and her two daughters, Rachel and Emily. She loves working with her horses – she has two Arabians – and hopes to be able to one day compete in a horse show. She is the designated “lawnmower of the family” and enjoys just “sitting on the back patio and contemplating the wind in the breeze.” She’s looking forward crossing off a bucket list item next summer when she goes on a rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon.
To view photos from the 2016 Leaders in Law networking reception and awards event Nov. 17, 2016, visit //www.idahobusinessreview.smugmug.com/.