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Bar News - September 8, 2006

NHBA Staff Profile: Dawn Brasil Joins Lawyer Referral Service


Dawn K. Brasil, a resident of Gilmanton, has joined the staff of the NHBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) part-time. She takes hundreds of calls a month and is often the first contact many people have with the legal system. She and her co-workers, Robin Brown and Sheila Dion, bring a human touch to the often bewildering realm of the law. “Most of the callers to LRS are under a great deal of stress; and they don’t have any idea what help is available to them,” said Brasil.


A paralegal for 14 years, Brasil has worked for several law firms in

Dawn K. Brasil

Massachusetts, where she and her husband lived before moving to New Hampshire. She gained experience in “a little bit of everything: general law, personal injury, family law, worker’s comp,” which gave her a good basis for the work she now does.


While the Brasils lived in Massachusetts, Dawn’s husband Lawrence was working in Gilford, prompting the Brasils’ decision to move to New Hampshire. They now live in Gilmanton where, at the Brasil Boat Works, Lawrence restores wooden boats of all kinds: Chris Craft, Century and Garwood Commander, to name a few. The Brasils have a wooden boat themselves, a 1954 30-foot Chris Craft, which they keep at Fay’s Boatyard in Gilford. Dawn does the bookkeeping for the business, orders supplies and also buys and sells boats.


Lawrence is originally from the Azores. Dawn, who in a “past life” was a hair stylist, was asked by friends to go to the home of a newly immigrated young man from Portugal to cut his hair because he was too shy to go to a salon. She consented and thus met her husband. They have been married for 18 years. “We have never visited the Azores—Lawrence comes from a small island and it only takes about 15 minutes to drive across it—but we hope to visit someday. We keep in touch with his family, though.”


The Brasils have a seven-year-old daughter, Victoria—and through her Dawn has become involved with the elementary school in Gilmanton. She is very active in the PTA, which, said Brasil, “raises money for scholarships so kids who can’t afford to can go on school trips and outings. We also buy new playground equipment, send kids to summer camps, and help provide for teachers’ extra needs.”


Dawn is also active with the Nursery Guild, which raises money to help the maternity and children’s wards at Lakes Region Hospital. “We have a special ‘toy chest’ for the children; when they leave the hospital, each is allowed to choose a toy from the chest so that their memories of their days at the hospital can end on a happy note.”


“I like the variety of my work with LRS. To me, legal work is more interesting when you can reach a broader base of people than working in a law office provides,” Brasil said; then she smiled and added, “I like the people I work with, too.”


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