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Bar News - June 15, 2012


2012 Annual Meeting Award-Winners Named

Each year, a highlight of the NHBA Annual Meeting is the recognition of outstanding members of the bench and Bar. The awards presented at the Annual Meeting focus on individuals who exemplify the highest levels of professionalism and show extraordinary dedication to the profession.

Cue the applause: This year, the recipients to be honored at the Annual Meeting banquet at the Mount Washington Resort on Friday, June 22 are:

Hon. Steven Houran, Associate Justice, Superior Court
Justice William A. Grimes Award for Judicial Professionalism


Judge Steven Houran
Judge Steven Houran, currently sitting in the NH Superior Court in Carroll County, has spent his entire legal career in public service. Admitted to practice in 1982 after graduating from Boston College Law School, Houran joined the NH Attorney General, and rose through the ranks, serving as Deputy Attorney General from 1996 to 2001, when he was appointed to the NH Superior Court by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

Supporting his nomination for the Grimes award, an attorney practicing in Carroll County wrote: "He is the most thoughtful judge with the most professional demeanor I have ever had the chance to practice in front of. He truly inspires a feeling among litigants and counsel that their argument has been heard."

The Grimes award is named in honor of the late Justice William A. Grimes, of the NH Supreme Court. Established in 1999, the award is presented to a judge that best fits the qualities in a judge as described (with apologies for the archaic male-centric language) by John Adams: "The judges therefore should always be men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man or body of men."


Gretchen Witt, Chief of Civil Division, US Attorney’s Office, District of NH
E. Donald Dufresne Award for Outstanding Professionalism


Gretchen L. Witt
A steadying and savvy presence, Gretchen L. Witt is closing in on a 25-year career in the US Department of Justice, serving as chief of the Civil Division of the US Attorney’s Office, District of New Hampshire, and including brief service on an interim basis as the US Attorney. John Kacavas, the current US Attorney, lauds Witt as having a "rock-solid reputation" and someone who has had an "immeasurable" impact on the development of numerous civil attorneys and prosecutors working there. Kacavas said that in addition to her duties supervising litigation and defense in the civil area, Witt functions as the in-house ethics advisor and professional responsibility monitor.

Witt’s devotion to the profession is also reflected in nearly continuous service to the Bar Association and to the court system in upholding and communicating high standards of practice. Her NH Bar Association participation includes service on the Board of Governors from 1995 to 2008, including the last three as NHBA Secretary. She also has served on the CLE, Gender Equality, Constitution & Bylaws, Long Range Planning, Professionalism and Status of the Profession committees and task forces. And she served four years on the board of the NH Bar Foundation.


Philip Waystack, partner,
Waystack & Frizzell
Distinguished Service to the Legal Profession Award


Philip R. Waystack
Philip R. Waystack, a past president of the NHBA (1986 to 1987) who practices in Colebrook at the firm of Waystack Frizzell, has been a major figure in the NH legal profession for many years and his resume lists a long list of accomplishments and involvements.

But for the past seven years (except for a two-year hiatus) Waystack has chaired or co-chaired committees established executive orders by Govs. Jeanne Shaheen and John Lynch to solicit and screen judicial applicants. While such a task is prestigious, it involves a lot of time and a lot of work, usually required in a compressed time frame.

Waystack’s volunteerism in the legal community and the courts also includes many years of service (1996 to 2003) on the Professional Conduct Committee from 1996-2003 and as a member of the PCC Hearings Panel. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a peer-selected group. Two years ago, Waystack co-chaired with then Superior Court Chief Justice Robert Lynn an advisory committee that helped develop the PAD Pilot project to implement automatic disclosure rules for civil cases.

Banquet tickets are still available. Contact Cheryl Moore at 715-3260 for availability. If you are staying at the Resort under the NHBA Annual Meeting package on Friday night, then the reception and banquet are included in your package rate.

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