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Bar News - September 8, 2006

Pro Bono, JCC Appointments

At its Aug. 17, 2006 meeting, the NHBA Board of Governors was asked to approve the reappointment of John Norton, of Keene, and Katherine B. Stearns, of New London, to the Pro Bono Governing Policy Board. Terms for both will be for three additional years.


Also, NHBA President Richard B. McNamara informed the Board of the appointment of attorney Jack P. Crisp as an alternate attorney member and Daniel Botsford, M.D., as an alternate lay member of the Judicial Conduct Committee.


In other matters, the Board continued its discussion of the revised Professional Rules of Conduct proposal sent to the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, and also a separate proposal from the Pro Bono Governing Board for different language for Rule 6.1 specifying an aspirational goal of 50 hours of pro bono service annually, the same language found in the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. John Norton, chair of the Pro Bono Board, emphasized that the specific numerical goal was important to add clarity to the obligation and to uphold a strong and proud tradition of pro bono service by the NH Bar.


In discussion, Board members concluded that rather than making a specific statement of endorsement of the Ethics Committee’s proposed rules or the Pro Bono proposal for Rule 6.1, that the NHBA should be making added efforts to underscore the importance to Bar members of the potential changes in the rules.


The Board also voted to support the concept of a permanent Lawyers Assistance Program to assist troubled lawyers and judges, particularly in light of its potential to reduce incidents of misconduct or malpractice through earlier intervention.


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