Need for Safely Reopening Courts ASAP, Challenges of Work-from-Home, and More
October 21, 2021
In response to issues raised at the September 10, 2020 Board of Governors New Members Orientation and else- where, the NHBA conducted a survey in September 2020 to better understand how its members were being affected by COVID-19. Topics included HR/budgetary/personnel changes, technology investments, technology challenges, communications challenges, information challenges, health- related challenges, and family challenges. We also asked members what they thought the single most important CO- VID-19 issue they faced was and how NHBA could help at this time. Nearly 250 NHBA members completed the survey.
The above chart shows the percentage of responses to the question “What is the single most important COVID-19 related change you face right now?” We learned, not surprisingly, that members are most concerned about the status of the courts (particularly telephonic hearings, scheduling, lack of jury trials, and safe reopening), the challenges of working remotely, the financial impact of the pandemic, client management, health and wellness, and work-life balance. Member responses to several multiple-choice questions helped us further refine these issues, particularly in the areas of court access and communicating with the courts.
The above chart shows the percentage of responses to the question “What is the single most important thing that the NHBA can do to help you right now?” By a sizable number of responses, members told us that we can be of most use in the area of attorney interaction with the court system. (Reopening was by and far the most frequent comment in this category, but jury trial alternatives, scheduling, and safety procedures were also mentioned often.) Other areas where members asked for NHBA assistance were in obtaining information in general, CLEs, member benefits, remote work, and health/ wellness.
The NHBA has several programs and offerings in existence or in the works to assist our members through these challenging times. These include:
- Affinity University – this member benefit provides free online technology tutorials
- TechConnect – a member benefit providing free technology consulting
- New Member Services email “helpline” for attorneys (coming soon; to facilitate communicating with the courts)
- Working Through COVID: A Lawyers Resource List (https://www.nhbar.org/working-through-covid-19-a- lawyers-resource-list/)
- Wellness Corner of the Bar News (beginning with this is- sue of Bar News)
- Ongoing Bar News coverage of the pandemic and how it is affecting the New Hampshire legal community
- COVID-19 story/video/photo repository, to document for future generations the impact of the coronavirus on the New Hampshire Bar
- Web-based CLEs
- Lawyer Referral Service – an ongoing source of referrals
- Posting court orders, notices, etc. to the NHBA Web site (nhbar.org)
We encourage members to reach out to the NHBA to learn more about any of these programs and offerings. Survey results will also help us prioritize additional/new offerings.
On behalf of the NH Supreme Court, NHBA will be putting out a second survey this month (October 2020). This new survey is designed to obtain member input on how the courts can most effectively service attorneys. We encourage our membership to watch for this survey and actively participate. Finally, respondents to the September survey had the option of providing their name to be entered into a drawing to benefit the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. NHBA chose five names at random and made $50 donations to the NHBF in honor of each selected person. They are: Biron Bedard, Rob Howard, Clarence LaBonte, Lissa Mascio, and Margaret