Bar News - June 9, 2006
Board Approves Budget, Reviews Ethics Proposal
At the May 18, 2006 NHBA Board of Governors meeting, the Association budget for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2006, was approved.
The Board’s action ratified the recommendation of the NHBA Finance Committee. (See accompanying article regarding dues and Court fees; more details on the budget will be provided in an upcoming issue of Bar News.)
Also, the Board heard a brief rundown of key components of the Ethics Committee’s proposed rewrite of the NH Rules of Professional Conduct, a comprehensive proposal requested by the Supreme Court Rules Committee, based on the ABA Ethics 2000 Commission proposals, codification of Ethics Committee interpretations or recommendations of existing NH rules, and incorporating such innovations as the unbundling rules recently approved by the court. The proposal, which is now pending before the NH Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules, is far-reaching and the Ethics Committee did not issue unanimous recommendations on every rule, and it received comments on a number of changes to various rules. (The Ethics Committee submission to the Rules Committee can be found at Legal Links/Ethics Opinions section at www.nhbar.org (No member user name or password required to access this section.)
Mitchell Simon, a veteran member of the Ethics Committee and a professor of ethics at Pierce Law, said the Ethics Committee, taking note of the increasingly multijurisdictional nature of law practice, attempted to follow the ABA Ethics 2000 language, only deviating from it when the drafters believed there was good reason to do so; this approach was almost the opposite of the approach taken when NH ethics rules were last revised in 1986. In upcoming Bar News, these changes will be discussed in greater detail. The Rules Committee is not expected to act for several months on the ethics code overhaul.
John MacIntosh, the Bar’s legislative representative, provided an update on the legislative session, and reported on progress on an effort to provide exemptions from sweeping reporting rules for lobbyists who are lawyers or are part of law firms; these disclosure rules, as originally written in SB 206, the executive branch ethics bill, would require law firms with even incidental contact with the legislative process or government regulators, to disclose privileged information about their clients.
As part of its agenda, the Board continued work on identifying action steps on future priorities for the NHBA in several focus areas. This is an attempt by the Bar’s governing board to follow through on discussions held at a number of Bar gatherings, involving different groups of members, to envision and help direct the conditions of practice for lawyers in the next few decades.
The Board of Governors also met on May 31; that meeting’s agenda included a conversation with the administrative judges of the superior, district, family and probate courts on matters of mutual interest.