Message from NHBA President Uchida
Re: NH Bar’s Role in Katrina Assistance
To: Fellow Bar Members
From: Richard Uchida, NHBA President
Date: September 7, 2005
The New Hampshire Bar Association is carefully following the rebuilding and recovery activities on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This storm, like no other in the past 75 years, has devastated lives, destroyed homes, and irrevocably altered the Gulf Coast way of life. Having spent a number of years on the Louisiana Gulf Coast myself, I can only imagine the utter destruction that it has left in its wake. Indeed, I have close friends who practice law on the Louisiana coast whom I have yet to hear from.
Without diminishing the heart-rending stories about human survival and spirit, I also commend to you the personal account
written by a law professor in Louisiana on the substantial impact on the Louisiana justice system. It is truly food for thought for all of us who rely on that system to deal with our nation’s basic legal needs.
I want you to know that our Bar’s executive director, Jeannine McCoy and Ginny Martin, the Association;s director of legal services and Pro Bono, have been in constant contact with the American Bar Association, as well as officials in the Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana bars, to stay on top of efforts to assist those states with not only their general recovery, but also the specific recovery of the justice systems and legal services programs in those states. Those systems will be sorely needed in the days and weeks to come. Jeannine will be advising our officers and the Board of Governors about any special assistance that lawyers in New Hampshire can provide. I hope that when the call comes, you are able to respond. Likewise, David Snyder, executive director of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, has likewise been in touch with his bar foundation colleagues in the affected states and will advise the Bar Foundation board of news and requests for help as they arise.
In addition, Attorney L. Jonathan Ross of Wiggin & Nourie in Manchester, has been named to the ABA’s response team by President Michael Greco. Likewise, one of ABA President Greco’s closest advisors is Attorney Steve Tober of Portsmouth, who is also this state’s ABA Association Delegate. Between Jon and Steve, I am certain we will be on top of special needs or concerns that may arise as the ABA assesses the situation.
In the meantime, I have been contacted by lawyers who want to know how they can help. Jeannine McCoy has advised us that if you want to help in any way, please offer your aid and assistance through the organizations and groups that have already established programs and links on the ground. Many of them can be found on our website. Work to create new programs and new links to groups in the Gulf Coast area, while wonderfully appreciated, only serves to increase bureaucratic red tape and redirects time and precious resources away from efforts that are both time-sensitive and already set up to direct your aid.
As lawyers, we are, by profession, instinctively trained to help those in need. As we learn of opportunities, especially those related to the re-establishment of the justice systems in the affected states, we will pass word on to you. In the meantime, I join you and countless others in hoping and praying for the best for all of those so affected by this cataclysmic storm.
Richard Y. UchidaNHBA President