A lot has happened in the two weeks since we put out our last message about the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic to the Bar and its members. Since that time our courts have extended previous orders, or issued new orders, regarding court operations and in person proceedings. The Governor has directed that all “non-essential” businesses be closed. For the text of these orders, please go the Bar’s website, where you will find the text of the orders, and some helpful information on working remotely, and continuing to operate in these difficult and uncertain times.
The Bar Association is working hard to bring together resources that will be helpful to members in continuing to serve their clients and their communities while helping to ensure that we are not contributing to the spread of the disease.
We have fielded many inquiries from members, and from the public about how we can, and will continue to operate. We are also receiving many suggestions for ways that lawyers can help. We are doing what we can to answer these questions, and to process possible solutions. The situation is changing every day, and new and different challenges seem to arise daily as well. In response, we are reaching out to the court, our vendors, supporters, and members to provide the best information that we can. We are listening, so keep those cards and letters coming!
You will note that we still have a “Save the Date” notice for the upcoming Annual Meeting in the current Bar News and on our website. Rest assured that we are continuing our in-house planning for this event, but we are mindful of its relative importance in the greater scheme right now. Our planning is only intended to allow us to be prepared if we are able to go forward with the event in a time frame that results in minimal costs to the Association. This is not pie-in-the-sky planning, we have a deliberate time frame and decision points driving the process.
Our officers and our executive director remain in contact with the Supreme Court regarding the many issues facing our members. We are also remaining in contact with resources who can provide us with the best advice on how to navigate this difficult environment as small businesses. We are looking to put out information in the near future in the form of practice aids in all areas of practice.
Thanks to all of you who have stepped up to help find solutions to some of the problems created with court closures and remote practices. Equally impactful have been the ideas and solutions for balancing practice with family when some of us are not only trying to work at home, but to assist our children with schoolwork and to aid ill and elderly family members. What I have seen and heard so far affirms my belief that New Hampshire lawyers are special, and that they continue to serve others even while faced with extraordinary pressures themselves.
We certainly don’t have the answers to all of your questions, but we are listening and working to find solutions wherever we can. We will keep working with you as we all settle into a new normal.
On behalf of myself and the Board of Governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association, we wish you well. We also welcome your questions and ideas for how we can best help.