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Christina M. Reger: “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”

I absolutely love what I do. I wake up each morning with renewed energy to assist someone new, to help someone get through a difficult time, to right a wrong, or to fix an injustice. I never take a client I do not believe in. As a part of my series about “5 things I […]

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I absolutely love what I do. I wake up each morning with renewed energy to assist someone new, to help someone get through a difficult time, to right a wrong, or to fix an injustice. I never take a client I do not believe in.


As a part of my series about “5 things I wish someone told me when I first became an attorney” I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina M. Reger.

After years as partner at a boutique commercial litigation firm in Philadelphia, Tina left to create her own firm specializing in employment law. Tina is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Christina Reger, LLC. The firm focuses on employment law counseling and litigation, educating businesses on the trends and pitfalls in today’s employment market, working with them to audit and analyze existing policies and procedures and providing them with cost-effective solutions to ensure ongoing compliance.

In the face of the COVID pandemic, Tina was seen as a thought leader, digesting the daily barrage of new regulations, orders, and guidances from federal, state and local agencies and providing webinars to help business owners adapt and respond. Her firm also produced Toolkits containing policies and instructions on the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and Reopening Your Business. Tina speaks regularly, both locally and nationally, on a variety of employment law topics, including hiring and firing issues, non-competes, social media and other HR nightmares that plague employers every day. In 2016, Tina was named Best Attorney in Business for employment law by Philly Magazine and was a recipient of the SMART CEO BRAVA Award. In 2017, Tina was named an Emerging Leader by the Courier Times and the Intelligencer. In 2019, Tina received an award by the YWCA Salute to Women Who Make a Difference and in 2020 she was spotlighted in the Legal Intelligencer and by Woman Owned Law for her contributions during COVID.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law?

Simply put, I wanted to help people. While that sounds trite, to me, I wanted to help people who couldn’t help themselves. Bad things sometimes happen to good people. I wanted to be the voice for those people to help them through a difficult situation.

As a child of Catholic immigrants, my parents emphasized the importance of faith and education. We did not have a lot of money and we certainly did not have things like networks, connections and social circles. But my parents believed in hard work, giving your best effort, and helping those that are less fortunate. These principles underpin everything I do and continue to be the principles that guide me today.

When I graduated law school, I was assigned to the family law department of a regional firm. While this was not the path I envisioned, I stayed and learned, believing there was a reason and purpose for me to be there. It did not take long for me to see the reason why I was supposed to be there, which I describe below.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your law career?

Wow, this client story is too “colorful” in its language to put into print. Suffice it to say, as a lawyer, you can “fix” a lot of things, but you can’t fix or change a client’s personality, and the most remarkable thing about clients is sometimes they do not even know how “colorful” their actions are or sound when they say them out loud. We can chat about it over coffee.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Since March 16, my practice has focused on COVID issues in some fashion, with both existing and new clients. From closing businesses, to opening businesses, from furloughs and layoffs to rehires, and from severance to unemployment, employers are struggling with an entirely new host of issues with which some have never had to previously address (or thought they would ever have to address). The issues are far-reaching and employers are asked to accommodate their employees in ways that never existed and certainly that extend far beyond their “legal” obligations. Each business has its own unique challenges from advocating for the day spa that is not permitted to perform key services, while other businesses, like a medical office can perform similar services, to working with the construction company that has to social distance while their people need to work next to each other to install piping. I feel privileged and honored to be entrusted with assisting these businesses reopen while ensuring compliance with all of the new regulations.

What are some of the most interesting cases you have been involved in? Without sharing anything confidential can you share any stories?

Ok so, this is the continuation of the answer to the first question.

Early in my career, I represented a woman whose husband had filed for divorce. She was a Japanese national and the young child of the marriage possessed dual citizenship. She petitioned the Court to return to Japan with the child — which, at the time was not a signatory to the Hague Convention. In Japan, when a couple divorced, there was a complete split, one parent took the child and the other separated from the child. So, as you can imagine, a United States custody order would not be enforced. I won at the trial level and my client was permitted to return to her homeland with the child. The case was appealed and ultimately was heard in the New Jersey Supreme Court. At the time, I was seven months pregnant with my first child. I argued the case and won. The decision was published as an issue of first impression in New Jersey. It was an incredible experience. We still keep in touch.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I would have to say there are three woman that inspire me and shape my career: Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. All of these women were trailblazers in their own time, etching and advancing the rights and opportunities available for women.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s vocal support of woman without regard to like-ability ratings and her passion to do what you feel is right in your heart, regardless of criticism has always resonated with me.

I was in fifth grade when Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court. I remember clipping the newspaper article and doing a book report on her. In the years to come, Justice O’Connor often served as the swing vote on many important cases.

I guess it is no surprise that as a lawyer, two of the women I selected were lawyers. But really, who doesn’t love the notorious RBG. Her opinions on women’s rights and racial equality have shaped the legal landscape. More importantly, her tenacity and zeal, in the face of adversity, in supporting her husband during law school, to finding employment after law school, to responding to universities because she did not like the way they asked for financial contributions — simply to advance the thought of gender equality — continues to inspire me.

As leaders and law makers, these women created and continue to create incredible opportunities for women. They were fearless in their endeavors, and achieved their goals with a style and grace that transcends time.

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in law?

At my law school commencement, I recall a very respected professor talk about being a lawyer. She first talked about how lawyers sometime get a bad rap, as money-hungry ambulance chasers. Then she said, “Always remember this. A legal career is more than passing a bar exam and practicing law. It is a noble profession, and you have been entrusted with the duty and privilege to uphold these principles and better society.” I never forgot those words. I feel privileged and honored to be part of that profession and uphold those principles. That would be the advice that I would pass along.

If you had the ability to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, which three would you start with? Why?

Only three? Ok, let me see if I can narrow it down.

First, judges should be appointed by a bipartisan group — not elected. Being elected a judge should not be a popularity contest.

Second, I would eliminate local and county rules. When I practiced in New Jersey, there was a uniform set of state court rules. When I came to Pennsylvania, I quickly learned that there are state rules, local county rules and even judge’s rules. I believe these variations have the potential to create inequities, inconsistent rulings, and barriers to the legal system.

Lastly, so many to choose from, I would like to see a bipartisan law/rule making committee at the state and federal level that includes lawyers. Two reasons to have such a committee: First, often laws are written that are completely indecipherable think HIPAA or do not have remedies, or do not define key terms that then become the subject of legal battles. I realize it is impossible to write a law that addresses every scenario or situation, but when lawmakers write legislation oftentimes passed in response to some urgent situation think CARES, without legal input to address the mechanics of implementation, legal battles will certainly ensue. The second reason for such a committee, is that many times a state supreme court will write an opinion that refers the case to the legislature for further action or to create rules. The only problem is, no legislative action was ever taken, and now ten years has passed since the opinion was written and nothing was done to advance the issue highlighted by the case. These cases should be referred to this committee.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I try to assist individuals and businesses every day. As I discussed earlier, I helped one woman return home to her native land and her family. In that respect, I changed her life forever. Now with COVID, I have worked tirelessly with and for business to help them stay in business and to save their dreams.

On a broader scale, I am the President-Elect of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Associate of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), advocating change and eliminating barriers for women business owners and assisting women entrepreneurs in addressing their legal and human resource issues but also growing their business.

I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?

I absolutely love what I do. I wake up each morning with renewed energy to assist someone new, to help someone get through a difficult time, to right a wrong, or to fix an injustice. I never take a client I do not believe in.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

It is not as easy as it looks on TV. I always laugh when someone calls my office over a lunch hour and leaves a message that says, “oh you must be out to lunch.” When I look up from my desk or retrieve my messages hours later, I chuckle thinking, “lunch, I haven’t even had breakfast!” It is funny how TV skews people’s perceptions.

So number Two — fits along with number one — it is long hours. If you are in this business just for the money, you may be sorely disappointed.

Third: Find what it is you love about the law, what subject matter interests you, like real estate, bankruptcy or employment, or with whom you like to work — charities, individuals, etc. You will be spending a lot of time with them (see number 2). This will become your passion.

Fourth: It’s OK to have it all. You can have an incredible law career and a family, or a hobby, or both. Find your balance. It will serve you and your clients well.

Lastly, fight for what or who you believe in. People may not like you, but you will never regret it. See my comments about Eleanor Roosevelt.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Oh, again so many to choose from, some dead — so lunch would be difficult, and some that continue to inspire all of us. If I had to choose just one person, I would love to have lunch with Sheryl Sandberg. Her story and her book inspire me. She has suffered some of the greatest losses and yet, she has succeeded. She has not been afraid to ask for things that assisted her or provided balance. While her book was impressive and thought provoking, the reason I would like to meet her is to discuss her courage; her message that it is OK to be afraid, and her challenging question: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? All of us are afraid, and as women, we do not always hide our fears, we let them dictate our actions. Sheryl’s story and her words reassure us that it is ok to be afraid, but not to let it dictate our direction. I would love to talk to her more about this topic.

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