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Bar News - January 5, 2007

Bar Foundation News: Robert E. Kirby Award – Retrospective Part II

The December 15, 2006 issue of Bar News featured the first six attorneys to receive the Robert E. Kirby Award. Since 1996, this award has recognized attorneys, nominated by their colleagues and chosen by a panel of judges, for their outstanding traits of “civility, courtesy, perspective and excellent advocacy.” Part II of our retrospective features the remaining four attorneys selected between 2003 and 2006.


NOMINATIONS for the 2007 Robert E. Kirby Award will be accepted by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation through February 2, 2007. Forms are available online:


2003 – Seventh Kirby Award

Jennifer L. Parent


“I am honored to have received the Robert Kirby Award in 2003. Robert Kirby set the bar high with his skills as a lawyer and his professionalism. To me this award stands for younger lawyers’ commitment to the law and achieving the highest professional standards.  I am honored to be included in this distinguished group of Kirby Award recipients.”                     - Jennifer L. Parent



Attorney Jennifer L. Parent received the Robert Kirby Award in 2003. Jennifer is a director at McLane, Graf, Raulerson and Middleton, Professional Association, in its Litigation Department. She received a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Boston College in 1992 and her JD degree, summa cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School in 1995. At graduation, Jennifer received the Daniel J. Fern Award from Suffolk University Law School for obtaining the highest cumulative average in her class. Jennifer’s practice involves representing large and small businesses in litigation in business and employment disputes. She has tried cases in state and federal court to both juries and judges. She has represented employers in the areas of employment discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, trade secret, non-competition, and non-solicitation. She has also represented companies in a wide range of business litigation involving contracts, tortious interference with contract, unfair competition, real estate, land use, leases, misrepresentation, construction, and other business disputes.


Jennifer is currently on the Board of Governors of the NH Bar Association as the Hillsborough (North) representative and a member of the NH Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee. She is a Liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession for the ABA Young Lawyers Division. Jennifer is a past president of the NH Women’s Bar Association. She is president of the NH Alumni of Suffolk University Law School, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the law school, and a founding member of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program for Suffolk alumni working in public interest law in NH.  In June 2006, Jennifer joined the Board of Opera New Hampshire.


2004 – Eighth Kirby Award

Kelly A. Ayotte


“I was tremendously honored and humbled to receive this award knowing how Robert E. Kirby practiced law and lived his life. When I speak to new attorneys within and outside of my office, I direct them to his ideals: to practice law with integrity, to treat clients and each other with respect and to always place professionalism above financial gain.”                     - Kelly A. Ayotte


Kelly Ayotte is the first woman to serve as Attorney General of the State of NH. Ms. Ayotte graduated from the Pennsylvania State University (with honors) in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science, and graduated from the Villanova University School of Law in 1993, where she served as Executive Editor of the Environmental Law Journal. Ms. Ayotte is a member of the NH and ME bars. After law school, Kelly spent one year as a law clerk to the Honorable Sherman D. Horton, Associate Justice of the NH Supreme Court. Following her clerkship, Ms Ayotte worked from 1994 to 1998 as a litigation associate in the law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, where she litigated complex civil, commercial and criminal defense cases.


She joined the Office of the Attorney General in 1998 as a prosecutor in the Criminal Bureau, where she handled white collar, public integrity and homicide cases. Kelly was appointed a Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Homicide Unit in 2000. In February of 2003, she left the Attorney General’s Office to serve as legal counsel for Governor Craig Benson at the beginning of his term. In July of 2003, she was appointed Deputy Attorney General where she served until July of 2004 when she was appointed Attorney General.


Kelly was recognized by NH Magazine in 2004 as one of the State’s remarkable women and she was selected as one of the 40 leaders in NH under the age of 40, by the Union Leader in 2002. In 2006, Business NH Magazine named her as one of New Hampshire’s 10 Most Powerful People. Kelly is a native of New Hampshire and resides in Nashua with her husband, Joseph Daley, and daughter, Katherine.


2005 – Ninth Kirby Award

Mary Elizabeth Tenn


“The Robert E. Kirby Award is an award of special distinction. It is a tribute to the memory of Robert Kirby; but also, calls us to action in our daily work.  The award has been a reminder in my practice, and a standard for all members of the Bar, to strive to achieve the level of courtesy, civility, and professional excellence demonstrated by Robert Kirby.”                 - Mary E. Tenn


Mary is a partner with Tenn And Tenn, PA in Manchester. Her practice includes personal injury matters, complex commercial litigation, domestic relations, and criminal defense matters. 


Mary completed her undergraduate degree at Boston College, and received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She is admitted to practice law in all state and federal courts in NH and MA, as well as the US Supreme Court. 


In addition to the NH Bar Association, Mary is an active member of many other professional associations including the NH Trial Lawyers Association, NH Women’s Bar Association, the Manchester Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the American Trial Lawyers Association.  Mary serves on the NH Trial Lawyer Association’s Board of Governors as a Governor-at-Large, and she also is a member of the Manchester Bar Association’s Executive Committee.


Mary is a frequent guest faculty member for the trial advocacy workshop at Harvard Law School, and a judge for the Harvard Law School First-Year Moot Court Competition. 


Prior to joining Tenn And Tenn, P.A., Mary worked as a litigation attorney at Boston’s Hale and Dorr LLP, where she was elected to partnership in 1999. During that time, Mary also served as special assistant district attorney for Middlesex County and prosecuted cases on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Born and raised in Manchester, Mary is active in local community and charitable organizations.  Mary is a 2003 graduate of Leadership NH and serves on the Leadership NH Board of Trustees. She also is a past board member for the Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council. Mary lives in Manchester with her husband and two young sons.


2006 - Tenth Kirby Award

Mary Ann Dempsey


 “For me, the Kirby Award represents recognition by members of my profession and the judicial bench, whom I work with on a daily basis and respect, that I am viewed as practicing law in a manner that is respectful, ethical, and fair. The value of this recognition to me cannot be fully expressed. As a litigation attorney, I strive to give the most persuasive oral argument or render the cross-examination that wins the trial for my client but, the Kirby Award is a constant reminder to me that how an attorney plays the game matters as much as the result. Bob Kirby’s memory is honored because he possessed personal qualities that we all want to exhibit in both our practice of law and personal lives. I have learned, through so many stories his colleagues shared with me this past year, that Bob was a humble winner and a gracious loser in the courtroom.  He was a zealous advocate for his clients while always being an ethical officer of the court. He was not only courteous but humorous, vital skills that we all need in this profession. I do not think I truly understood the full meaning of being named a recipient of the Kirby Award until I learned about Bob Kirby from the people who practiced with him and still miss him. To even be thought of in connection with an award that pays tribute to Bob Kirby and his memory, is the greatest honor of being named a recipient.”                                                                 - Mary Ann Dempsey


Mary Ann Dempsey of Wiggin & Nourie, P.A., earned her J.D. from Boston College in 1997 and served as a law clerk and senior law clerk to the New Hampshire Superior Court prior to joining Wiggin & Nourie, P.A. Mary Ann represents clients in commercial, insurance, and appellate litigation in New Hampshire and Massachusetts courts, including the NH Supreme Court. She has developed a significant practice of representing the insurance industry and insured individuals for coverage issues ranging from issues relating to auto and homeowners policies to commercial general and professional liability policies. She is a regular lecturer on a number of insurance coverage issues including uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage law and mold litigation.


Mary Ann is the New Hampshire Representative for the Defense Research Institute, a national organization of 22,000 defense trial lawyers and corporate counsel. She also serves as an executive committee member of the Manchester Bar Association, and is an active member of the NH Women’s Bar Association, the NH Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. 


She is a volunteer coach for St. Joseph Regional Junior High School Cross Country/Track and Field team and serves on the Advisory Board for Child and Family Services. She also volunteers at New Horizons Soup Kitchen in Manchester. 


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