Bar News - June 23, 2006
‘Alumni’ Return to McLane for Reunion
By: Anita S. Becker
Bruce Felmly emcees the McLane Jeopardy game as teams of current and past employees compete to answer trivia about the firm.
About 60 former attorneys and staff participated in a special and unusual gathering of lawyers and staff at the McLane, Graf, Raulerson, and Middleton firm’s offices in Manchester on May 25.
During the firm’s second McLane Alumni Reunion, a warm, festive atmosphere enveloped the firm’s lobby and conference rooms as former colleagues and friends filled the air with the sound of continuous laughter and talking. Even during the more formal presentations of the evening, organizers had to speak over and cajole the participants into abandoning their reminiscences for a few minutes to listen to the speakers.
The idea for the reunion came about because many of those who work for the firm keep in touch with past employees—attorneys and staff—and would inquire about the whereabouts of others. The firm supports numerous events during the year for team-building and socializing, and the concept of the reunion was born. “We are a creative bunch,” says Director of Business Development Erika Bird. “This firm is very innovative.”
Bird, who regularly commutes to the Queen City from her California home, explains that a reunion committee made up of attorneys and administrative staff asked current employees for contacts and researched archived personnel files and online Lexis-Nexis Martindale searches to find missing alumni.
The first reunion was held in 2003 and the firm plans on hosting future reunions. But, they will not be held annually so that the event stays fresh, attendance stays high, and there is no undue burden placed on those traveling distances. Bird says that it wasn’t difficult to convince people to come to the reunion. “McLane is a friendly firm and people rarely leave for acrimonious reasons. A lot of people here keep in touch with alumni that have moved on to other places.”
Bruce Felmly, who has been with the firm for 34 years and is director and co-chairman of the Firm’s Litigation Department, remarks that “it is wonderful to have the bond with the people who work here that we do.” He says this is due, in part, to an atmosphere that promotes camaraderie. “We’re small enough that we remember people who have worked here and we’ve also been successful at building relationships because to us relationships are important.” He says that the alumni reception is no ordinary business event. “It’s not just great networking; truthfully, it’s just an awfully good time.”
Alumna Ann McLane Kuster is director of Rath, Young & Pignatelli’s Health Practice Group, based in Concord. Founded by her grandfather in 1919, the McLane firm now has 75 attorneys and more than 25 legal assistants. “There is a very collegial environment here,” Kuster says. “McLane has a strong reputation for training young lawyers, so, regardless of what they do once they leave here, they have fond memories of this place.”
As part of the celebration, the group played firm-themed trivia games; competed for prizes through numerous activities and contests; enjoyed food and drink; and had memories jogged through old photographs and war-story trading. The evening culminated with McLane Jeopardy where teams participated in a competitive and animated test of memory regarding company trivia.
Some of the questions in the McLane Trivial Pursuit game included: Who was the executive director before Sylvio Dupuis? On what continent did former associate Megan Honea get married? Who was the first female director to wear pants to work? Who was the youngest person to make partner at McLane?
The Hon. Wayne C. Beyer, an administrative review board judge for the US Dept. of Labor, won the prize for traveling the farthest to attend the reception. A member of the DC and NH Bars, Beyer came from Washington D.C. to the reunion because he enjoys the company of people he doesn’t get the opportunity to see very often. “These people have meant a lot to me in my career and I try to keep in touch with them,” says Beyer. “I can honestly say these are some of the best lawyers I ever worked with.”
Beyer, who has a residence in Intervale, worked at McLane as an associate litigator from 1977-1983, following his graduation from Georgetown Law School. He then took a leave of absence from the firm to accept an appointment from the Reagan Administration and eventually stayed on to continue his career in Washington, DC. Of his years at McLane, he says, “I was happiest to get this job of any job I’ve ever gotten.”
Steve Camerino, director and chair of the firm’s management committee, started with the firm in 1983. Hired as the thirty-sixth attorney, he recounts one of his favorite memories of his early days at the firm. “All of us lawyers used to gather in one of the conference rooms for a daily coffee break to touch bases. It would be very hard to do that now.”
Alumni that attended the event included: Hon. Ellen Arnold; Hon. Kelly Ayotte; Hon. Wayne Beyer; Hon. Carol Ann Conboy; Hon. Charles G. Douglas, III; Kelli Bacon; John Beals; Charles Boddy, Jr.; Alice Briggs; Skip Campbell; Dan Deschenes; Laura Dodge; Les Duncan; Sylvio Dupuis; Anne Edwards; Judy Fairclough; David Fietze; Kathy Fortin; Charles F. Gerhan; Denise Gearraughty; Kerry Gorgone; Suzanne Gorman; Edward Hahn; Frances Hall; Meredith Hatfield; Michael Henry; Maria Holland-Law; Ronald Honig; James Hood; Robert Jauron; Michael Johnson; Ann McLane Kuster; Brad Kuster; Connie Boyles Lane; Bryce Larrabee; Kevin Leach; Jim Lombardi; Daniel Lyman; J. Christopher Marshall; Roland Olivier; Glen Perlow; Eveline Provencher; Judy Ellen Reardon; Stewart Richmond; James Tenn, Jr.; Michael Tule; Robert Upton II; and Suzanne Woodland.