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Bar News - November 3, 2006

Probate Judge Maher Retires at Year’s End



After more than two decades of service on the bench, Probate Court Administrative Judge John R. Maher will retire from the judiciary, effective Jan. 1, 2007. He was appointed to head the probate courts in 1990, and continued to preside as Rockingham County Probate Judge, a post to which he was appointed in 1983.


“I am grateful for the opportunity to have been involved with the Judicial Branch in general and the probate court specifically for the last 23 years,” Maher wrote in a recent letter to Gov. John Lynch. “I am confident that with the cooperative efforts of all branches of government the courts will continue to evolve to reflect the needs of the public.”


Maher, who turns 65 on Dec. 3, was admitted to the NH Bar in 1969 after earning his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. He operated his own law firm in Portsmouth until his appointment to the court. Under the New Hampshire constitution, judges may serve until age 70.


During the first few months after retirement, Maher plans to travel with his wife, Skye, and will refrain from making any new volunteer or professional commitments. He said he expects to eventually offer his services as a private mediator. (Look for an interview with Maher in an upcoming issue of Bar News.)


In 1996, Maher was named to serve as a judge in the newly formed Family Division pilot project in Rockingham County, and from 2000 to 2002, he served as the division supervisory judge for the county while continuing his duties for the probate court.


He has been very active in administrative activities in the court system, including serving on the Administrative Council of the Judicial Branch, the NH Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, the NH Court Accreditation Commission, and the NH Judicial Council. Nationally, he recently completed a term as president of the National College of Probate Judges, and continues to serve as editor of its journal.


Throughout his legal and judicial career, Maher has been active in community organizations too numerous to name, and was a founder of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of New Hampshire, a peer-support group for individuals in the legal profession confronting substance dependency issues.


The Judicial Selection Commission, at the request of the governor, acted quickly following news of Maher’s intentions to retire and—through e-mail, the NHBA’s Web site, and newspaper advertisements—posted an announcement of the vacancy with a Nov. 1 deadline for responses. (The announcement was posted after the Bar News presstime.)


Plans are underway for a celebration of Maher’s career on Jan. 17, 2007 at the Rockingham County Courthouse, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. Contact person is Patty Cole at (Details on events to be held in his honor will be reported as information becomes available).


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