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Bar News - June 21, 2013


NH Bar Announces 2013 Awards


James Starr
Jim Starr has worked as a court administrator in New Hampshire in both the state and federal judicial systems for more than 35 years. His knowledge, experience, professionalism, and his pursuit of numerous initiatives to improve the courts and the quality of justice in New Hampshire led to his selection as recipient of the 2013 NH Bar Distinguished Service to the Profession Award.

NHBA President Larry Vogelman was to present the award to Starr, Clerk of Court for the US District Court in Concord at the NHBA Annual Meeting luncheon on Friday, June 21. Also to be honored at the luncheon were retired Judge Harold Perkins, receipient of the Justice William Grimes Judicial Professionalism Award, and Thomas Watson, who is being presented with the E. Donald Dufresne Professionalism Award.

Starr, who has been clerk of the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire for the past 28 years, is set to retire at the end of 2013. He began his career in 1978 as a law clerk in Hillsborough County Superior Court, where he became deputy clerk the following year, before accepting the clerk position at Merrimack County Superior Court ourt.

Throughout his career, Starr has been a leader in improving court automation through technology (he designed the federal courtís first webpage in the late 1990s). He also has worked to build strong relationships between the bench and bar, having been a member of the NH Bar Association Committee on Cooperation with the Courts since its inception in 1985. He also has served on several national committees dedicated to developing and updating national court policies ranging from gender equality to court performance standards.

Also at the honors and award luncheon at Annual Meeting, Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson was to receive the Philip Hollman Award for Gender Equality, presented by Lauren Simon Irwin, chair of the NHBA Gender Equality Committee, and by Judge Hollman.

Also at the Annual Meeting luncheon, Retired Judge John R. Maher received Special Recognition for his many years of service to helping lawyers and judges struggling with substance abuse and other personal issues through Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, and the NH Lawyers Assistance Committee which later became a formal program created by the Court.


Hon. Harold Perkins
Perkins, who served as a NH Superior Court judge from 1988 to 2006, was recognized for his solid knowledge of the law and his common sense approach. Perkins was known to treat all people who appeared before him with great respect and professionalism, earning him a reputation of fairness during his time on the bench.

Perkins became a sought-after mediator in New Hampshire following his retirement and brought the same knowledge, common sense and professionalism to the mediation process. Coupled with his great sense of humor and his ability to put people at ease, these qualities exemplify the notion of judicial professionalism honored by the award named for Justice Grimes.


Thomas Watson
At the Presidentís Dinner at Annual Meeting, Watson, a civil litigator at the firm of Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon, was honored with the Dufresne award. Watson was selected for devoting countless hours to the cause of improving the administration of justice and the practice of law in New Hampshire, as well as educating others in the legal profession.

Known for his open-door policy, Watson has consistently contributed his time to other lawyers seeking his advice or help and to boards and committees in his community and his profession. He has served on many committees of the NH Bar Association, the NH Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice and other groups. Watson also has been a member of the UNH Law Board of Trustees since 2010.

The dinner included the graduation of the NHBA Leadership Academy Class of 2013 and the passing of the Bar presidentís gavel from Vogelman to Jaye Rancourt.

View photos from Annual Meeting.

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