August 15, 2018

By Anna Berry

Inside the New Hampshire Supreme Court on a sunny morning in July, the ground underneath Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn’s office was literally shaking.

Although the culprit was visible outside his window — construction equipment fixing the 50-year-old building’s roof — the circumstance was an apt metaphor for the broad changes Lynn is leading in his new role as “CEO” of the state’s Judicial Branch. With only a year left until he hits the mandatory retirement age, Lynn has a lot to accomplish with limited time.

Lynn recently sat down with the New Hampshire Bar News for a lengthy interview after a busy few months of oral arguments, opinions, and ceremonies, including his own swearing-in in April and that of the newest justice, Patrick E. Donovan, in May.

Despite the brimming to-do list, Lynn is optimistic about the outlook for construction plans at the Supreme Court and other court facilities, as well as progress on the e-Court system that will roll out e-Filing by the fall for civil cases in the New Hampshire Superior Court and cases in the Supreme Court.

“If I’ve made a big mistake, nobody’s found out yet,” he said with a laugh, referencing a joke he’s been telling as he settles into the position held by former Chief Justice Linda Dalianis for eight years.

“She’s a wonderful person and I learned a lot from her,” he said of Dalianis, adding that they share an “open and accessible” leadership style, which was helpful during the transition. “A lot of the administrative things that I’m doing now … I hadn’t done for about seven years [but] on a larger scale, it’s similar to what I was doing when I had Justice [Tina] Nadeau’s position at the Superior Court.

“I’m familiar with the personnel process and administrative issues and dealing with [the] budget … it’s a bit of a refresher course but it’s coming back to me.”

Read more in the next Bar News issue published August 15, 2018.