May it Please the Court:

Practice & Professionalism in NH Courts

U.S. District Court, 55 Pleasant Street, Courtroom 3, Concord, NH 03301-3941

This program day will give Leadership Academy participants an opportunity to interact with members of the judicial branch and to learn about the crucial role the court system plays in our state’s system of justice. Panelists will share a few personal stories and will discuss practical tips, professionalism in difficult situations, and the future of law practice in New Hampshire. Participants will complete an interactive assignment to set the stage for this informative day.

12:30 – 1:00     Homework Debriefing and Discussion:

Participants will discuss their experiences from the judge shadowing homework assignment. Group leaders will help facilitate discussion. The goal will be to prepare some comments to share with the judicial panel.

1:00 – 1:10       Welcome Remarks & Intro of Clerk Panel by Hon. William Delker & Laura D. Devine, Esq.           

1:10 – 2:05       Clerk Panel Discussion with Q&A:

Tracy A. Uhrin, Chief Deputy Clerk, U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire
Catherine J. Ruffle, Clerk of Court, Merrimack Superior Court
Theresa A. McCafferty, Circuit Clerk, N.H. Circuit Court, 6th Circuit, District Division, Concord

Panelists will discuss day-to-day operation of the Courts and how practitioners can simultaneously promote judicial economy and the ends of justice. Panelists will also have the opportunity to address any court rules or pending rule changes that have or may have an impact on court procedures.

2:05 – 2:15       Break

2:15 – 2:40       Introduction of Judicial Panel and Discussion of Homework with Judicial Panel

Participants will share prepared comments with the judicial panel from their experiences from the judge shadowing homework assignment. The goal will be to inform the judicial panel of what participants took away from the shadowing experience.

2:40 – 4:00       Judicial Panel Discussion with Q&A:

Hon. Carol Ann Conboy (ret.) NH Supreme Court
Hon. Amy L. Ignatius, NH Superior Court
Hon. David D. King, NH Circuit Court
Hon. Joseph LaPlante, US Federal Court

Panelists will break the ice with a couple short “war stories” and/or discussion of the transition from the bar to the bench. Thereafter, the panelists will give perspectives from the bench (including “pet peeves”) on trial practice. The judges will discuss professionalism in the context of “dealing with difficult situations” such as when an attorney becomes a witness, it appears that a judge may have made a significant error, recusal issues, when you learn after a proceeding that you, a client, or a witness made an incorrect representation to the tribunal, you think the other side has conducted himself/herself inappropriately, or you have been waiting on an order for what you believe to be an excessive length of time. Panelists will also have the opportunity to address the current state of the NH court system and changes they see on the horizon.

4:00 – 5:00       Reception

5:00 – 5:30       Time for Group Project 

Scenes from the Judicial Module