Bar News - August 11, 2006
Association News Section Connection: A Year in Review
By: Patricia Frechette
Two thousand five hundred attorneys: that’s how many New Hampshire lawyers belong to at least one of the NHBA Sections. This is a significant number considering there are just over 4,000 active attorneys in the state; and the number of section members is growing.
The benefits of section membership now go beyond the traditional monthly meetings. Communicating and networking with colleagues in your chosen area of law can still be done by attending meetings and other in-person section activities, but technology has advanced so much that other options now exist to help you stay in touch. For example, e-mail discussion groups (a.k.a. Listservs) and online Section CLE programs are also available to section members.
During the 2005-06 membership year there was an increase in section activities. In addition to regular business meetings, many sections had CLE presentations; some hosted lunches and social events for their members; several co-sponsored CLE programs with the Bar’s CLE Committee (these programs were open to the entire Bar membership); one section produced two newsletters for its members; and every section—through their officers and contributing authors—participated in the Hall of Sections and Committees at the NHBA’s Midyear Meeting in February.
Throughout the year several sections regularly held monthly meetings, including: Children’s Law; Elder, Estate Planning and Probate Law; Environmental and Natural Resources Law; International Law; Municipal and Governmental Law; and Real Property Law. The majority of meetings were held at the Bar Center. The Municipal and Governmental Law Section usually met at the NH Local Government Center in Concord.
In an effort to offer a change of venue and an opportunity for section and non-section members who are not in the immediate Concord area to attend a meeting, two sections held their meetings at various locations. Among other places, the Environmental and Natural Resources Section met at the NH Dept. of Safety’s Glendale Boathouse in Gilford, the NH Dept. of Environmental Services in Concord, and PSNH in Manchester. The International Law Section was hosted by several area law firms and lunch with an “international” flavor was provided at each meeting.
The Bar Center’s new location at 2 Pillsbury Street in Concord has a generous amount of meeting space and was designed to accommodate more members. Rooms for two simultaneous section meetings or a large joint meeting, depending on the number of attendees, is now possible.
Other groups, such as Intellectual Property (IP) Law, Telecommunications, Energy and Utilities Law, Workers’ Compensation, and the Family Law Section met on a quarterly basis. The IP Section is comprised of not only attorneys, but law students, mainly from Franklin Pierce Law School. During 2005-06 as many as 24 students subscribed to that section. Similarly, the Family Law Section has professionals from the field of mediation subscribe to its section. The subscribers to these sections, and others, are eligible to participate in their sections’ e-mail discussion groups as well.
During the section meetings of the past year, members discussed and shared a variety of important and timely topics, including: immigration and international trade; children’s law issues; e-discovery; changes in Medicaid laws; proposed and recent changes to alternative dispute resolution in New Hampshire courts; trade secrets and patents; ethics; and legislative updates in family law, municipal law and environmental law. Some of the presentations were videotaped and added to the Bar’s CLE online programming catalog. Section members who missed the meetings, and any other Bar members, can view the presentations online for a small fee. Most programs are eligible for CLE credit. To view the list of section programs go to www.nhbar.org, click on NHBA CLE, then NHBA CLE Programs, then NHBA CLE Online.
On numerous occasions, sections with common interests held joint meetings. The Municipal and Real Property Sections met twice to discuss the subject of current use taxation; and, for the first time, the Tax Section and the Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate Section met together to discuss estate and gift tax audits. More collaboration between sections is anticipated during the current membership year.
Six sections (Health Law, Tax Law, Public Sector Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Workers’ Compensation Law, and Criminal Justice) worked with the Bar’s CLE Committee and together they co-sponsored quality CLE programs for the Bar membership as a whole. Again, joint efforts between some sections and NHBA CLE are already being discussed for upcoming CLE programs. Check future issues of Bar News for program details.
Over the past year, a Real Property Section subcommittee worked on revising the NH Title Standards. For a status report, visit the section’s Web page at www.nhbar.org.
Some of the sections filed annual reports for the period ending May 31, 2006. All Bar members are welcome to read these reports, which can be found on the individual section pages of the NHBA Web site (www.nhbar.org). Go to the password-protected For Members area, click on Sections, then select the section(s) you want to read about.
2005-06 was a busy year. And now, as section officers begin planning their schedules and agendas for upcoming meetings, we encourage all Bar members to take advantage of all that the various sections have to offer. Stay informed and connected. Participate in an e-mail discussion group. Share your ideas for future section meetings with the chair of a section. Become involved.
If you would like more information on how to join a section or have questions, contact the Sections Coordinator, Patricia Frechette, at email@example.com or 603-224-6942.