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Bar News - June 9, 2006

Recognizing Honorary Members of the Bar

Nine members of the New Hampshire Bar Association have reached a significant milestone in their lives and careers, as they have completed 50 years in the legal profession.  Bar News has prepared profiles of these lawyers and judges, some of which appeared in the May 19 issue of Bar News.  All of these members will be honored at the Annual Meeting on the evening of Friday, June 23, 2006.


Philip M. Cronin

Hon. (ret) Robert B. Dickson

David C. Engel

Gerald F. Giles

Victor L. Hatem

Jack B. Middleton 

Arthur W. Mudge 

Richard N. Peale

Richard N. Pearson 


David C. Engel  


Upon reaching the 50-year milestone, Engel says, “I can’t believe that time has gone by so quickly. Fortunately I don’t feel any different than I did 40 years ago.


“I am still practicing law full time. Hope to get the hang of it eventually.” Engel, who practices in Exeter, continued   “I am as busy now, if not busier, than I have ever been in the entire 50 years of my practice.”


Engel was born in New York City and raised in Essex Falls, NJ.  He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1954 and from New York University Law School in 1956.


“I became a lawyer so that I would not be subjected to the business practice of getting established in one place, starting a family and then having to move to another location, etc.,” said Engel.  “After law school I was a law clerk at the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office from 1956-1958. In 1958 I became associated with Henry W. Shute, Exeter, NH, becoming a partner in the law firm to be known as Shute and Engel in 1963.


“I remained a partner in that law firm with the name of the partnership changing as various lawyers became partners; then I became the sole member of that law firm, which is now known as Engel & Associates, P.A.”


The law firm had been established in 1880 by Henry W. Shute’s grandfather Henry A. Shute and thus in one form or another it has been the oldest continuous law firm in Rockingham County. Engel’s areas of practice have been personal injury, product liability, business and commercial law, trust & estate planning.


“The role models for me were Judge William Grimes, Judge Leonard Hardwick and Judge Arthur Bean,” said Engel.


Engel’s community activities have included: Kensington, NH Board of Adjustment; Greenland, NH Planning Board; Director and Deacon, Greenland Community Church; Chair of the NH Uniform Domestic Relations Support Guidelines Commission under Governor Sununu: Secretary, Rockingham County Bar Association; Rockingham County Courthouse Building Committee for the Exeter, New Hampshire Courthouse; Chair of the City of Portsmouth Blue Ribbon Committee to restore the original New Hampshire State House; and co-founder of Portsmouth Preservation, Inc., which successfully prevented the demolition of the 13 most historic houses in the north end of Portsmouth at the time of urban renewal.  He also chaired the Exeter Historical Society Committee, which saved the colonial Sleeper House in the center of Exeter from being demolished.


Engel reports that in politics, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention for write-in candidate Henry Cabot Lodge.


Engel feels that his greatest achievement was obtaining the first plaintiff’s verdict in a products’ liability suit brought against the automobile industry for defective design of a vehicle which resulted in the death of a mother and child. At the time of the verdict it was the second highest amount ever awarded in the US or the death of a child under six years of age. The suit was brought against International Harvester, challenging the entire automobile industry for failing to have a split or double-hydraulic braking system or rust-resistant brake lines on its vehicles.


Engel is married to Priscilla G. Engel, has six children, one adopted step-child, three step-children, twenty grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Jack B. Middleton


Jack B. Middleton, of McLane Graf Raulerson & Middleton in Manchester, is surprised about reaching the 50-year milestone.  “It went very fast,” he said.


Middleton is a former president of the NH Bar Association and the senior member of McLane’s litigation department. He focuses his practice on arbitration and mediation and has 50 years’ experience as a trial lawyer and 24 years of service as a New Hampshire District Court Judge.


He is a member of the American Bar Association, a certified civil trial specialist with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He is also an accredited mediator with the NH and US District Courts, a member of the ABA and NHBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections and a member of the ABA’s House of Delegates.


Middleton was born in Philadelphia, Penn. and grew up in nearby Narberth.  He attended LaFayette College and then Boston University Law School from which he graduated in 1956.  He became a member of the NH Bar that same year.


In October of 1950, Middleton enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  He was on active duty until May 3, 1952; thereafter, he stayed in the USMCR until 1959.


After his release from the active USMCR, he worked at the Mt. Washington Observatory, which had a profound effect upon his life.  “I decided to become a lawyer as a way to make a living in New Hampshire,” said Middleton.


“I have spent my entire career at McLane.  At first I practiced in many different areas, but in recent years, I have limited my practice to civil litigation and to alternative dispute resolution.”


He says his role models have been his own law partners—John R. McLane, Kenneth Graf—and others in the legal profession: Joe Carleton, Arthur Greene, Arthur Nighswander, Joe Kerrigan, Joe Millimet and Bill Green.


“I have been fortunate to have been involved in many professional activities,” said Middleton.  “Among them the NH Bar Association and the NH Bar Foundation; the ABA; the National Conference of Bar Presidents; the National Conference of Bar Foundations.”  Among his civic pursuits, he lists the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and the NH Business & Industry Association.  Middleton is also involved in charitable activities: the Mount Washington Observatory; NH Public Television; The Nature Conservancy and the White Mountain School.


When asked about his memorable cases, Middleton said, “David Depuy and I represented M/M Maynard a case which went to the US Supreme Court (Maynard vs State of NH); it held that they did not have to display “Live Free or Die” on their license plates when it violated their religious views.”


Middleton is married to Ann Dodge Middleton (since 8/22/53) and has three children: Susan Middleton Campbell, Jack B. Middleton, Jr. and Peter C. Middleton.  He also has four grandchildren.


As for the present, “I am still working, but not as hard as I used to!” said Middleton.


Richard N. Pearson


Richard N. Pearson says that, “Perhaps the greatest satisfaction of my legal career was passing the NH Bar exam in 1956.  Only about half of those sitting that year passed the exam.”


After law school, Pearson was with Sulloway, Hollis, Godfrey and Soden in Concord for six years.  Then he started his teaching career with the University of Connecticut Law School, where he taught for two years.  “After that, I joined the faculty of Boston University School of Law and taught there for 16 years.  Then I went to the University of Florida College of Law (Gainesville, Florida (1981).”  Pearson taught his last class there in the spring of 2001, when he retired as Cone, Wagner, Nugent, Johnson, Hazouri and Roth Professor of Law.


Pearson was born in Michigan, grew up there and took his undergraduate degree in business from the University of Michigan in 1950.  He went on to earn his LLB from Boston University in 1956 and his LLM from Yale Law School in 1964.  He served with the US Army during the Korean War (1950-52) and was stationed in Alaska.


While he was an undergraduate at Michigan, he considered going to law school, but went to business school instead.  After getting out of the Army, he worked in the labor relations department of Pontiac Motors.  “My supervisor there was a lawyer, and I thought that if I wanted to progress through the ranks, I should also have a law degree.  Armed with the GI Bill and a used car, I wound up at Boston University School of Law—and never went back to Pontiac Motors.”


“Perhaps the most influential person and one whom I greatly admired, was one of my BU professors, Chalmers (Jasper) Peairs.  I’m sure many of Jasper’s former students would be puzzled at the choice.  He was a master of the Socratic method and I was one of the few who actually enjoyed his classes.”  Pearson had the opportunity to teach right out of law school, but Jasper told him that if he were going to teach students about lawyering, he should get some experience about what he would be teaching them to do.  That’s when Pearson joined the Sulloway firm.


While in Gainesville, Pearson was president of the Friends of Classic 89, the local public radio station and also president of the board of directors of the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra.  In New London, he is still involved in music as president of the Summer Music Associates (SMA); he is also treasurer of the Upper Valley Music Center (UVMC).  SMA produces four or five summer concerts and UVMC provides music instruction in many schools in the upper valley area.  He is also treasurer (and sometimes a teacher) of Adventures in Learning, an adult education program sponsored by Colby-Sawyer College, where he is on the President’s Advisory Council.  He is also on the finance committee of the Friends of the Fells.


Some achievements have given Pearson special satisfaction: the co-authoring of a first-year torts casebook titled Torts Process, which is now in its 31st year; he was reporter for two ABA Torts and Insurance Practice Section projects involving no-fault auto insurance.  He is a member of the American Law Institute and has assisted in two projects as a member of the Members’ Consultative Group.  He authored a law review article arguing for the retention of the “zone of danger” rule in emotional harm cases, taking a position contrary to the Supreme Court of California.  It has been cited frequently by both state and federal courts and quoted by the US Supreme Court.


Many of Pearson’s former students, both in Florida and New Hampshire, have had outstanding legal careers. 


“I have been happily married to the same woman (Daniella) for over 50 years,” he says. The Pearsons have one daughter, Anne Giordano, who is assistant manager of a Brookstone store in Massachusetts.  Anne has one daughter, Kristin.  The Pearsons also have a son, Tom, a plumber, who has two children, Jenna and Kayla.


“I’m in reasonably good health, enjoying my retirement—and I couldn’t be more pleased about reaching this milestone.”  Although retired, Pearson is involved in many activities.  “I also enjoy reading…and I can play tennis…and ski now that I have had a knee replaced.  We have done quite a bit of traveling, both at home and abroad.  All in all, we enjoy retirement very much.”


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