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Bar News - February 23, 2007

A Love for the Law—It’s a Family Thing



Attorney Martha Maynard Jacques walked into the Bar Association recently to attend a CLE video replay. Since it was her first visit to the Bar’s new location, she decided to take a look around. Imagine her delight when she saw, hanging on the wall of one of the conference rooms, a framed photograph of “The Bench and Bar for 1949-50”—and caught sight of two familiar faces. Both of Jacques’ parents are in the picture: William Maynard and Leila Lister Maynard.      


William Maynard was a graduate of Boston University School of Law and Leila Maynard attended Suffolk University Law School; they joined the Bar in 1944. Martha Jacques, a former police dispatcher, decided to become a lawyer only after her father’s death in 1996. She also attended Suffolk, graduating and joining the Bar in 2001. “There had always been two lawyers in the family; it didn’t seem right that there should be just one after my dad’s death—so I decided to go to law school,” said Jacques. She is currently the prosecuting attorney for the western New Hampshire towns of Rindge, Mason, Marlborough and Troy; she lives in Mason with her husband, retired state trooper Ronald Jacques.


A Mom and Dad in the Law


William Maynard, a World War II veteran, served as a U.S. attorney from 1954 to 1961; during this period, he took a leave of absence for nine months in 1959 to act as legislative counsel to Gov. Wesley Powell. In 1961, he was appointed NH attorney general and served in that position until 1966.


Maynard was a native of Plymouth and had originally opened an office there with the Hon. William Batchelder, now a retired NH Supreme Court justice. Maynard moved the family to Concord in the late 1950s, and then to Bow. Thereafter, he maintained a law office in Concord until his death.


Always involved in the civic and political life of the state, Maynard was, among other things, a city solicitor for Concord and chair of the state Tax Commission. He also ran for governor. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1961.


Leila Lister Maynard lives in Concord. She is still the feisty, independent woman who was among the pioneer female members to join the NH Bar. “Both my parents gave me so much background history of the Bar—and of the law in New Hampshire,” said Jacques. “My dad told the most wonderful stories—and my mom was one of just a handful of female attorneys in the early days. She and the others really opened many doors for those of us who came after.” Leila Maynard also served as a selectman in Bow for 13 years.


Leila Maynard’s Legacy


Leila Maynard is the senior female member of the NH Bar; she will be 88 years old in March. On some occasions in the past, she has been the only woman attending Bar Association meetings. “Once,” said Jacques, with a smile, “when she was the only woman there, the speaker said, ‘I didn’t know there would be a female present—guess I’ll have to change my talk a little.’


‘‘ ‘No, you won’t,’ said my mom. ‘If what you have to say can’t be said in front of both men and women alike, I won’t be around to hear it!’ With that, she got up and walked out.”


After her retirement in 1987, at age 68, Leila Maynard continued her involvement in the legal life of New Hampshire by acting as her husband’s secretary for several more years. In 1994 she became an honorary member of the Bar.


“My mom is a brilliant woman,” said Jacques, who noted that her mother likes to keep her mind active. “She has always loved crossword puzzles.” The whole family enjoys “mind” games, according to Jacques. “Like the Cranium games. We would play them at family gatherings and I always wanted to be Mom’s partner—because together we usually won!”


The Maynards had four daughters, Betsey, who died in 1996, Katharine, Tamar and Martha—and one son, J. William Maynard. “But, I’m the only one who became a lawyer,” said Jacques. “And I have the influence of my mom and dad to thank for that.”


Leila Maynard was valedictorian of her class at Suffolk University and she still attends the Suffolk alumni dinner at the Midyear Meeting whenever possible. “She looks forward to it all year long.”



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