Bar News - March 19, 2014
NH Bar Association Honors 50-Year Members
Editor’s Note: Bar News is publishing short profiles of the 21 NH Bar members who have reached the 50-year milestone this year. These honorary bar members will be recognized at the NH Bar Association Annual Meeting at the Portsmouth Sheraton on June 20-21, 2014.
Ashod Amirian says he still feels like he’s 25 years old.
A lifelong resident of Haverhill, Mass., Amirian works part-time as town counsel for the town of Merrimac, Mass., but he now spends his winters in Florida, fishing and hunting.
For Amirian, the decision to become a lawyer was made way back in the seventh grade.
“My shop teacher in the seventh grade gave me a test and told me I should be a lawyer,” he recalls. “I foolishly took his advice.”
Amirian compares the practice of law to one of his favorite pastimes.
“I have found that the practice of law is like fly fishing; at times, no matter how hard you try, you do not always succeed,” he says.
Throughout his life, he has looked to his father as a role model, calling him “a kind and gentle man who taught me to be fair and honest in all of my dealing.”
After high school in Haverhill, Amirian spent two years in the US Army stationed in Germany. He obtained the rank of captain and met his wife during that time, while he was in Sweden.
Throughout his law career, Amirian has never been late to an appointment or court hearing, which he counts as a major professional achievement. He recalls a court clerk in Rockingham County, Unwar Samaha, who once took him aside to discuss the virtue of punctuality.
“I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I just got out of the Army. I know about being on time.’ He told me there is only one excuse for being late: ‘A funeral; your own.’”
Amirian has been married to his wife, Lena, since 1967. They have two adult children, Sven and Naima.
New Hampshire native Robert Backus was a debater in high school and college, so it seemed natural to transfer that talent into the courtroom.
A graduate of Wesleyan University and Harvard Law School, he was the last to clerk for the Hon. Peter Woodbury, chief judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I admired and enjoyed Judge Woodbury enormously, and now I have the privilege of serving in the New Hampshire House with his son, attorney David Woodbury,” Backus said.
Following his clerkship, Backus was selected as a Fellow in Africa in a program run by the Sloan School of Management at MIT and spent most of the next two years as the legal adviser to the finance ministry of the Government of Northern Nigeria. “This intriguing job came to a premature end when a coup overthrew the government of Northern Nigeria and also the federal government,” Backus said.
Backus returned to New Hampshire to practice at Devine Millimet. In his first case there, he assisted Joe Millimet as he defended a libel case against the Concord Monitor. Millimet represented the late columnist Drew Pearson, who had written a column accusing a Manchester politician of being “a former small-time bootlegger.”
The case, which ended up in the US Supreme Court, provided “insight into the world of New Hampshire politics, including the practice of filing ‘straw candidates’ and how to influence ethnic voters,” Backus said. “Stanley Brown represented the plaintiff. There could not have been a better clinical education for a new lawyer than seeing these two titans of the New Hampshire bar battle each other until they were both gray with fatigue.”
In 1972, Backus left Devine Millimet to start a law firm with three other Devine lawyers; the firm is today Backus, Meyer & Branch. He represented two environmental groups, NH Audubon and the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, which were concerned about the proposal to build two nuclear reactors in Seabrook.
“Little did I know that the battle over Seabrook would take up at least half of my legal time for more than three decades,” he said.
During and after the Seabrook battle, Backus represented citizen groups on other energy projects and helped found the advocacy group known as the Campaign for Ratepayer Rights.
Backus has two children and one grandchild and has been married to his wife Carol for 10 years. He hopes to continue serving in the NH House and enjoy some travel and hiking during retirement.
Serving in the US Navy and attending the Naval Justice School in Rhode Island led Alexander Bernhard to his long career in the law after he left the military.
Born in New Orleans, La., Bernhard moved around a lot while growing up and attended both MIT and Harvard Law School. He served as a naval deck officer on a fleet oiler in the Atlantic from 1957 to 1961 and then as a communications officer on a World War II-era diesel submarine in the Pacific. As a line officer he attended the Naval Justice School.
“I found the Navy court martial work interesting and I had always like debating in high school and college,” he said. “I liked the way the law is organized, that it is logical, that there are answers to every issue that are based on reason or experience and all make sense. I know that there are a lot of qualifications to these statements, but as a general matter I think they are true.”
Bernhard served as a law clerk on the 9th Federal Circuit in San Francisco before taking a job as an associate at a small firm in Eugene, Ore. After a stint at Bingham, Dana & Gould in Boston, he began a longtime career at Hale & Dorr, where he worked for 34 years, eventually becoming senior partner. He handled several large international, cross-border corporate acquisitions and served as outside counsel to Bose Corporation and Ocean Spray Cranberries for 30 years.
Bernhard has been a longtime trustee of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, including four years as chair. That experience has given him an inside view of the practice of medicine and a chance to compare it with the practice of law.
Bernhard also is an officer and one of the prime movers behind the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County, now the longest rail trail in New Hampshire.
“My wife and I love biking and the rail trail goes by our farm and is a beautiful and safe place to ride,” he said.
Bernhard is married and has three successful sons. He has been retired for about 10 years and splits his time between a condo in Boston and a 200-acre former farm in East Andover.
“My plans are to keep on hiking, bike riding, and traveling three or four months a year, and eating well,” he said.
Robert J. Cotton
Robert Cotton has been a solo law practitioner for more than 32 years and has no intention of slowing down. He has represented some of his private clients for nearly 40 years.
|Robert J. Cotton
Originally from Baltimore, Cotton lost his father, a Baltimore attorney, at a young age, but his uncle, attorney Aaron Bronstein, became his teacher, mentor and role model. Cotton attended Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received a master’s degree in taxation from Boston University.
Early in his career, Cotton practiced in both small and large firms, but he has been a sole practitioner since moving back to Massachusetts more than three decades ago. In addition to representing his private clients, Cotton has been appointed by various courts to serve as a guardian ad litem or commissioner.
Cotton says he enjoys assisting others and putting his knowledge to work for his clients, as well as teaching younger attorneys about the practice of law.
“I am always happy when I can put into practical use things which I have learned during my career or using that experience to mentor younger attorneys,” he said.
Cotton also has served on a committee in his hometown and has been active in the Masons for the past seven years, having served as a past master of his lodge. He and his wife of nearly 46 years have three daughters and three granddaughters. He says he has no plans to retire any time soon.
“As long as I have my health and clients, I want to continue working,” he said.
Bradley R. Coury
A native of Berlin, NH, Bradley Coury hopes to spend more time in New Hampshire now that he is semi-retired.
Coury is a graduate of St. Patrick High School, Holy Cross College and Georgetown Law, who is still working on a select number of cases.
“I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to serve all these years,” he said.
Coury’s father encouraged him to become a professional, so he chose the law for his career. For many years, he has maintained a general practice specializing in litigation and some areas of administrative law, including immigration law.
Assisting his clients is what Coury said he likes most about practicing law.
Coury has been married for 50 years. He and his wife have one daughter and three grandchildren. He said he hopes to spend his retirement years doing some more travel and enjoying New Hampshire.
Wright Danenbarger thought he mistakenly received a letter congratulating him on having been a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association for 50 years.
“I always thought 50-year members were really old,” he said. “I don’t practice anymore, but I feel that I could.”
Danenbarger was born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Concordia, Kansas. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in chemical engineering. But he decided he didn’t want to be an engineer, so he enrolled at Yale Law School, along with his college roommate, who eventually flunked out.
Danenbarger was a litigation associate at the New York City law firm of Townley, Updike, Carter & Rodgers from 1964 to 1968. In 1968, he moved to New Hampshire and began work at Wiggin & Nourie in Manchester, where he remained until the firm’s closure in 2012.
Working on a variety of cases, including some defense of draft board cases for the New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union, kept Danenbarger engaged and interested in his work as a lawyer. He also was involved with the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control and NH Lawyers for Better Gun Laws.
“The last case I tried was among the most satisfying,” he said. “I obtained a large medical malpractice verdict for a nice couple who lost their 16-year-old son because of medical negligence.”
Danenbarger stayed active in the law even outside his practice. He enjoyed teaching, serving on panels at continuing legal education programs and performing mediation. He also was involved with Court-Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire, the Merrimack River Watershed Association and an association that worked on affordable housing issues.
Danenbarger enjoys spending time with his wife, Claire, and his three children. He also has four grandchildren. In his retirement years, he spends time with family and aims to live life as well as possible.
Business lawyer Robert Dastin may have helped form New Hampshire’s first professional corporation in 1968.
A native of Manchester, Dastin has spent his whole career at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green and plans to retire at the end of this year to begin crossing things off his “bucket list.”
“I will maintain an office at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green to assist those lawyers here who have ‘inherited’ my files,” Dastin said. “While I remain competent, I have a ‘bucket list’ to work on while I am still healthy and have my ‘wits’ about me!”
Dastin attended Boston University, where he earned his BA, LLB and LLM in tax. He is a 41-year member of the New Hampshire National Guard, and went on active duty for the Berlin crisis. A recipient of the Legion of Merit (1998) and the Distinguished Service Medal from the National Guard of the US, he retired as a Brigadier General from the NH Air National Guard. He currently serves as the director of Selective Service and has been the chair and a member of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves since 1995.
Dastin has concentrated on professional corporation law and representing small businesses. He has held many posts on company boards and community organizations. He currently serves as honorary director of Delta Dental Plan of New Hampshire and as a director of the Kevin T. McHugh Scholarship Fund (Trinity High School) and Amoskeag Industries Inc. He is a trustee of Neighborworks Greater Manchester and of the Palace Theatre Advisory Board, and is a director and past president of New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery Association Inc. He’s also a director of Hands Across the Merrimack, co-convener and current co-chair of Manchester Moves (rail-to-trail program); and director of the Veterans Count Club.
His past service includes a being a founder, director and secretary of Hampshire First Bank; the American Stage Festival; the Bank of New Hampshire Advisory Board; Chairman of the CenterPlex (Verizon Center) Committee; the Diocese of New Hampshire Regional School Board; the First NH Bank Regional Board; the New Hampshire Traffic Safety Commission; the New Hampshire State Prison Board of Trustees; Numerica Savings Bank; a director and past president of the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra and the New Hampshire YMCA; a director and vice chair of the Manchester Sports Council Inc.; director of New Hampshire Catholic Charities; a trustee and vice chairman of Camp Belknap (YMCA); and director and chair of the Manchester Airport Authority.
Dastin, who has two sons and two grandchildren, plans to spend time at his second home in Arizona once he retires at the end of 2014.
Rod Falby compares being a member of the NH Bar Association for 50 years to other “perks” associated with his age.
“Reaching the 50-year milestone is like skiing for free when attaining a certain age,” he says. “It’s nice, but not to be envied!
Falby, an avid skier, practices part-time with Fernald, Taft, Falby & Little in Peterborough.
Born in New York City and raised in Penacook, Boscawen and Canterbury, Falby graduated from Middlebury College in 1961.
A veteran of the US Army artillery, serving from 1964 to 1966, Falby was assigned to Army air defense in Germany and “loved every minute of it.”
“I learned a lot, travelled a lot, and made many lifelong friends who served with me,” he says.
Falby attended the University of Chicago Law School, graduating in 1964. “Law school seemed more attractive than job hunting at the time. Then after the military, practicing law seemed to be worth a shot. I have always admired my partners and friends in our Peterborough office.”
Falby served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William McAllister of the Oregon Supreme Court, from 1966 to 1967. He then practiced as a generalist with Wiggin, Nourie in Manchester, before joining the Peterborough practice.
“Serving clients in a general practice has been both educational and rewarding, especially in appellate work,” he says.
Falby has served on several town boards and boards for various civic and charitable organizations, including as senior warden of All Saints Episcopal Church for 12 years.
He and Ann, his wife of 44 years, love to travel and ski. They have four children, four grandchildren and more on the way.
These days, Robert Fryer refers to himself as a “recovering lawyer.”
He lives with Carol, his wife of 50 years, in Williamsburg, Va., after retiring in 2004. He reports he is in good health and enjoys a life that, after 65 years in New England, does not involve shoveling snow.
Born in Haverhill, Mass., Fryer was raised in Merrimack and Newton Junction, NH, and attended Sanborn Seminary in Kingston. After one year at Dartmouth, he transferred to the University of New Hampshire, where he received his undergraduate degree.
In the summer of 1960, while working for the US Forest Service laying out logging roads and “chasing smoke” in eastern Oregon, Fryer figured (correctly) that being a lawyer meant he would never know from day to day what he would be doing the next day, and thus would never be bored.
“My role model was always my dad, a self-educated salesman and naval flight instructor who had the confidence to take two separate summers off, one to travel to all of the National Parks (1948) and one to drive across country and up the Alcan highway (1952) with my mom and me.”
Fryer attended Duke Law School, where he graduated in 1964.
“After passing the New Hampshire Bar in 1964 (thanks to Jack Middleton et al) and a short temporary internship at Boynton, Waldron and Dill, I received my orders to active duty,” Fryer recalls. “My three years in the Marine Corps taught me more than Dartmouth, UNH, and Duke combined.”
After the Marine Corps, Fryer practiced law for one-and-a-half years with Joseph Stancik in Derry and as in-house counsel for the Nashua Corporation with Charles Hamblett for about seven years. In 1976, he started his own firm, first with Ed Boutin and later joined by (Judge) Larry Warhall; adding Peter Solomon few years later. As the firm grew to eight lawyers, Fryer decided to simplify his life and launched a solo practice in 1988.
While working and in retirement, Fryer has participated in civic life, serving on local chambers and economic development boards, and in local government.
Since moving to Virginia, he volunteers at CASA and as a substitute Meals on Wheels driver for the past seven years. He also volunteers with Project Healing Waters, spending most Tuesday mornings at an Army base and VA center, working with returning injured soldiers and disabled vets. He teaches them fly-tying and fly-casting, and takes them fishing once a month.
Fryer also works as a mediator and teaches a course at the William and Mary Continuing Education program on the growth of the federal regulatory state titled, “The Tyranny of the Law - The Growth of Regulatory Re-Socialization and Proceduralism.”
Martin L. Gross
A New York City native, Martin Gross is a former Mayor of Concord who still practices law for a limited clientele.
|Martin L. Gross
A 1960 graduate of Harvard College, Gross earned his JD at Harvard Law School in 1964. That year, he accepted a one-year clerkship for a federal district court judge in the District of New Hampshire. From 1965 to 1969, Gross began work as an associate at Sulloway & Hollis, where he continued to work for the remainder of his career. He still serves as senior counsel to the firm, representing clients in appellate litigation, public utilities, insurance regulation, medico-legal, government relations and municipal law.
Gross said some of his proudest professional moments include representing the New Hampshire Supreme Court and arguing before the United States Supreme Court in 1984. He also chaired a special committee on the New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure from 1980 until 1993.
In addition to his legal work, Gross has been very active in the Concord community. He served as the city’s mayor from 1976 to 1982. He also chaired the New Hampshire Public Radio Board of Directors, and served on the New Hampshire Healthcare Advisory Committee, the Concord City Charter Commission, the Conservation Law Foundation board, the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention, the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners, the Concord Hospital Board of Directors, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Board.
Gross’s first wife, Caroline, died in 1993. In 2000, he married Dierdre Sheerr-Gross. He has been semi-retired since 2004, when he assumed “senior counsel” status at Sulloway & Hollis. Since then, he has traveled extensively and plans to continue exploring. “I’m enjoying my leisure,” he said.
In addition to being a lawyer for the past 50 years, Robert Leslie was a jet fighter pilot in the US Marine Corps.
Leslie, who served during the Korean War in Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii, says his time in the USMC was “one of my proudest accomplishments.”
Leslie is a partner at the firm of Soule, Leslie, Kidder, Sayward and Loughman in Salem.
Born in Lawrence, Mass., Leslie attended Merrimack College and Boston College Law School. His uncle was a lawyer and was influential during his childhood.
“I became a lawyer because I felt early on that the law was the glue that held society together,” he says.
Leslie’s father helped influence the direction of Leslie’s legal career. His major area of practice was in collective bargaining in the public sector, as a management representative.
“I learned to love the labor union movement from my father, who never went beyond the 7th grade but who was very active in the movement,” says Leslie. “My firm represented many school districts and towns and although I represented management I had great empathy for the unions.”
For Leslie, the formation of the law firm in Salem is his most significant professional achievement. “I am most proud of forming my law firm, which will live on after I am gone,” he says.
Leslie, who has three children from his first marriage, has been married to his current wife Carol since 1992. He remains active in Democratic Party politics.
For Norman Marsh, the idea that he has been practicing law for 50 years came as a surprise.
“It’s a shock!” he said. “How did the 50 years pass so quickly?”
Marsh, another native of the Big Apple, is retired from law practice, but he still works on volunteer projects that make use of his legal skills.
Marsh grew up in Mt. Kisco, New York, and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1957. He earned his law degree at the New York University School of Law in 1964.
A veteran of the US Navy Reserve, Marsh gained unique and valuable experience as a proud member of the armed forces. He served from 1957 to 1980, including his service, from 1958 to 1960, as an officer of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team (UDT). He retired as a lieutenant commander in 1980.
Several of Marsh’s ancestors were lawyers – his grandfather and great-grandfather. It was partly because of this, and partly because of his own interest in the law, that he decided on a career as an attorney. It was also “to know my rights and wrongs in an increasingly complex world,” he said.
Along the way, he was inspired by Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower and many of the contemporaries he encountered throughout his years in practice.
Marsh worked as an insurance adjuster at Lumbermans Mutual in Los Angeles, California, from 1962 to 1963, but then he moved back east. He practiced civil litigation at Bleakley, Platt, Hart & Fritz in New York City from 1964 to 1967, before moving north to New Hampshire.
He served as in-house counsel at Sanders Associates in Nashua, where he was involved in litigation, intellectual property, real estate, government and commercial contracts, employment law, and international law. He worked there until 1999.
Some of Marsh’s proudest professional moments involve the preparation, pursuit and negotiation of several government and commercial contract claims, as well as handling administrative hearings. He also recovered $5 million through “a little reading of routine federal legislation reports... writing a few letters and making a few phone calls,” which uncovered a potential claim opportunity.
Marsh finds satisfaction in supporting community activities. He is involved with his local junior sailing program, historical museum and trail committee. He has four children and six grandchildren.
William S. Orcutt
William Orcutt maintains a sense of humor about his retirement from practice about a decade ago.
|William S. Orcutt
“I retired from practice about 10 years ago because of hearing loss, which probably resulted from verbal assaults by the plaintiff’s bar for so many years,” he said.
A native of Hanover, NH, Orcutt attended the University of New Hampshire and the University of Michigan Law School.
Orcutt practiced at the now-dissolved Manchester firm of Wiggin & Nourie throughout his career and throughout the firm’s various name changes.
Orcutt says the most rewarding cases he worked on were those he took on a pro bono basis while serving as chief legal counsel for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union and while serving as a district court judge in Goffstown.
A father of two with two grandchildren, Orcutt spends his time post-retirement hanging out with family and friends.
A nearly lifelong Peterborough resident and attorney, Charles Parrott served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War and was stationed in Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Japan.
Educated at Boston University College of Business Administration, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1953, Parrott then went on to the United States Air Force Pilot Training Program and received his Wings in 1954. He served on active duty until 1961, when he joined the USAF Reserve, serving in Massachusetts, Georgia, New Jersey and Illinois, retiring in 1989 at the rank of Major General.
To develop the analytical thinking skills he admired in other lawyers, Parrott attended Boston University School of Law, where he received an LLB in 1964.
“My role models as I thought about entering law school were the late Maurice Blodgett and the late Kenneth Brighton, both of Peterborough,” Parrott said. “When I began practicing law at the law firm of Nutter, McClennen & Fish in 1964, my role model was the late Robert W. Meserve, an outstanding litigator, president of the Boston Bar Association and the American Bar Association.”
After beginning the practice of law at Nutter, McClennen & Fish, Parrott quickly became a litigation associate and progressed to a junior partnership in 1970. He made senior partner the following year and remained at the firm in that capacity until 1998, when he took “Of Counsel” status. He retired from full-time practice in late 2000.
Parrott specialized in civil litigation with emphasis in products liability defense, First Amendment litigation, aviation litigation, domestic relations counseling and litigation and general business litigation.
“In general, I am proud to have practiced law with an excellent law firm and to have had the opportunity to successfully represent our clients through my years of practice,” he said.
Parrott served as a trustee of Boston University for several years after having served as president of the Boston University Alumni Association and as president of the Boston University School of Law Alumni Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston YMCA since 1994 and was chair of the board from 1999 to 2001.
Charles “Chuck” Solms III
Chuck Solms represented the New Hampshire Realtors Association for 32 years, acted as a master and was a solo practitioner in Bedford before retiring 10 years ago and moving to his new home in Florida.
Having been drafted from his teaching job at Vermont Academy, Solms served in the military but “lucked out between Korea and Vietnam,” he said. He served for two years in personnel at Ft. Gordon in Georgia and, during that time, decided to go to law school.
Born in Monticello, NY, Solms attended Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia Law School. He counts among his role models New Hampshire attorneys Bill Green, John Nassikas, Kim Zachos, Jack Middleton and others “who were and are not only terrific lawyers, but also gentlemen who make the bar proud.”
Solms’s legal career began at Wiggin and Nourie, after which he joined Eaton & Eaton, which eventually became Eaton Solms Mills and McIninch. The firm dissolved after almost 28 years, and Solms established his own office. “I was heavily involved in real estate law and maintained a private practice and title company.”
Solms served on several boards, including for the New Hampshire Symphony, Child and Family Services, and the YMCA. He was a trustee of the Derryfield School and Mt. Hermon School and was a member of the Bedford School Board. He has long been involved in Rotary and sings with the symphony chorus.
Solms hasn’t practiced law in 10 years, but he keeps up with the NH Bar Association happenings by reading the Bar News at his home in The Villages, Fla., where he has become reemployed as a golf starter at a country club. He is married and has two grown children from his first wife, who passed away after 35 years of marriage. He and his wife, Marsha, enjoy playing golf together.
“Retirement has been wonderful,” he said.
Joseph Steinfield recently published his recollections of growing up in Claremont, NH, and other personal experiences in a book of essays titled, Claremont Boy: My New Hampshire Roots and the Gift of Memory.
Originally written over several years as a regular column in the Monadnock Ledger of Peterborough, near the small town of Jaffrey where Steinfield now lives, the book traces his childhood in Claremont and a depicts a variety of personal and professional memories. It includes appearances by diverse notables, known and unknown, including Julia Child, Ozzy Osborne, and a Hebrew-speaking Muslim from the Northern Caucasus Republic of Adygeya.
“Like all trial lawyers, I tell stories for a living,” Steinfield writes in the foreword, “but those are other people’s stories. These are mine, a partial memoir told two or three pages at a time.”
Steinfield graduated from Claremont’s Stevens High School in 1957. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School. He was a partner at Hill & Barlow in Boston and is currently a member of the Boston firm Prince Lobel Tye, where he specializes in litigation and media law.
Steinfield is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School and the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He has also lectured at several other universities and taught American law at two universities in Russia.
Steinfield and his wife live in Boston and Jaffrey. Steinfield has three children and three grandchildren, to whom he dedicated his book. The book was published earlier this year by Bauhan Publishing of Peterborough.
New Hampshire native Donald Whittum is still practicing law full time after 50 years as a NH Bar Association member and says he feels very fortunate to be able to do so.
Whittum was born in Whitefield, attended schools in Laconia and graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in political science. He received his law degree from Boston University Law School in 1964. Whittum had attended the Army Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird, Md., and served with the military in Korea.
“I decided while in the military to attend law school and was encouraged to attend Boston University by Rod Dyer, who was at the law school while I was in the service,” Whittum recalls. “Rod had been a friend and classmate through grade, high school and college.”
Whittum began his legal career as an associate at the Rochester law firm of Cooper Hall & Walker, which later became Cooper Hall Whittum and Shillaber, until its closure in 2000.
“During this period, I was greatly influenced by the professionalism and integrity of the firm partners, qualities which I have sought to emulate in my practice,” he said.
In 2000, Whittum became associated with the first of Wensley & Jones in Rochester, where he remained until starting his own practice in 2010. His practice focused primarily on real estate matters and he served as an associate judge in the Farmington Municipal Court from 1972 until its consolidation with Rochester in 1984.
Whittum has served on the NHBA Board of Governors, the Professional Conduct Committee and is a past president of the Strafford County Bar Association. He also has served as town moderator, school district moderator and planning board member in Farmington.
Whittum and his wife of 53 years, Sylvia, have three adult children and own two farms, where they raise and foster many dogs, horses and other animals. He says he has no immediate plans to retire.
“I am gradually spending more time on the farm and will probably become a full-time farmer at some point,” he says. “In the meantime, through gym, farming and law, I try to stay physically and mentally healthy.”