By Jonathan Eck

Jonathan M. Eck
Soon after the presidential gavel was passed to Sandra Cabrera, she was nomi¬nated to become a Circuit Court Judge and is scheduled to be sworn in on August 15, 2022. As she was unable to fulfill her term, President-Elect Jonathan Eck became Bar President and Vice President Paul Chant acceded to President-Elect. Accordingly, a special election will be held to fill the seat of Vice President. See Page 3 for details.

Over the years, I have found that the carefree days of summer, when the warm weather seems to create more opportuni­ties (or at least a greater desire) to relax, provide a welcome and necessary opportu­nity to reflect and assess all aspects of my life. While taking in a beautiful view from a mountaintop vista, sitting beside a serene body of water, lounging in an Adirondack chair, or driving in my car on a sunny sum­mer day, my mind sometimes wanders to my plans for the future, either immediate or distant. In this frame of mind, it is a time of year when each of us can consider how to maximize the benefits of our New Hampshire Bar Association membership and pursue the opportunities that it pro­vides for each of us.

In many ways, what a member of the NHBA gets out of their membership is di­rectly correlated to what that attorney puts into it. Attorney participation is at the core of fully utilizing the NHBA’s services and benefiting from one’s membership.

Participating in the NHBA is also in the public good. Committees of the Bar, including the Law Related Education com­mittee, serve an important public purpose. As many NHBA members know, LRE is a leader in civics education in our state. Through important programs like We the People, A Lawyer and Judge in Every School, Civics in Action, and Beyond High School, LRE reaches New Hampshire’s students year after year, and helps to make them better informed citizens. For those students, LRE’s programs provide impor­tant exposure and bedrock instruction that help those students as they develop into contributing members of society. Volunteer opportunities with LRE (including limited-length volunteer commitments, such as volunteering for a single day or visiting a school for a block of hours) abound for New Hampshire lawyers, and for those who care deeply about the importance of civics education, LRE provides a valuable means of advancing that cause.

Most of our members are also famil­iar with the numerous NHBA Sections and the benefits of shared knowledge through participation in section meetings and on online forums. The NHBA Sections offer motivated lawyers the chance to further develop their subject matter expertise and share knowledge and strategies with other practitioners.

Other NHBA programs are important for developing future leadership, both in the profession in general and within the As­sociation. The NHBA’s Leadership Acad­emy has proven to be a valuable pipeline to board positions with the Association’s Board of Governors for many relatively recently admitted members of the Bar. These next-generation or second-career attorneys have proven to be capable and well-prepared leaders for our profession in board business, and they tend to join the board energized and with ideas for how to improve the practice of law in our state and to enhance the Association’s means of sup­porting practitioners.

The NHBA also has multiple com­mittees that serve important functions for New Hampshire lawyers, including the Continuing Legal Education committee, which is tasked each year with developing timely, informative, and interesting CLE programming. In my experience, many of the best CLE programs I have attended were developed and put on by the NHBA CLE Committee. Experienced members of our Association are well suited to provide state-specific guidance and training in all areas and aspects of practice in our state. Another critically important NHBA com­mittee is the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts, which facilitates impor­tant dialogue between practitioners and members of the bench about virtually all aspects of the operations at the state and federal courts in New Hampshire. The Committee on Cooperation provides prac­titioners with a critical and unique opportu­nity to provide input to leadership from the courts on court operations. I served on this committee for several years and regularly saw the valuable exchange of ideas and potential improvements between members of the bench and practitioners. The list of NHBA Committees is too long and numer­ous to identify each of them but suffice it to say that virtually every interest a member might have is likely addressed through one or more of the committees.

I have been active in the Bar Associa­tion throughout most of my legal career, and I have found both my board service and general participation to be profession­ally and personally rewarding. My involve­ment on the Board of Governors for more than a decade now has given me the means to participate on numerous matters of great importance to our profession. Work on such projects and issues has increased my pride in being a lawyer and has helped me feel like I had a clear voice in our profes­sion. I have also found my participation in myriad NHBA programs and committees has provided me with a means of interact­ing with other lawyers who I otherwise never would have had occasion to get to know. This valuable relationship building has helped me more effectively represent my clients by allowing me to develop rela­tionships and trust with other practitioners, which helps me efficiently get to the es­sence of core matters for my clients.

I am proud to be a member of this as­sociation and my practice has benefited im­mensely through the countless programs, resources, and opportunities that have been available to me through the NHBA. While it provides many member benefits for even passive members of the Bar, ac­tive involvement is the best way to lever­age the value of both our Association and a member’s membership. I encourage all our members to explore the opportunities available through the Association and to pursue those that are of greatest interest or importance to them. This time of year is the perfect time to become more involved in the Bar and all of its offerings. I encour­age you to take advantage of these oppor­tunities.