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Bar News - March 9, 2007

Past President Hall, Pro Bono Champion, Dies at Age 62


NH Bar Association past president Michael P. Hall, a moving force behind the establishment of the Pro Bono Program at the NH Bar Association, died from brain cancer on Feb. 21, 2007.  Hall will be missed by all who knew him and all who benefited from his friendship, his good humor and his dedication to serving the underprivileged.  In the mid-1970s, he helped establish the Pro Bono Program for the state of New Hampshire and ever after he was an enthusiastic and willing volunteer for both the Pro Bono Program and the DOVE (Domestic Violence Emergency) Project.


Hall’s heart was always with the unmet legal needs of the poor and the disadvantaged.  He considered it a privilege to be part of the solution to the problem and often encouraged others to become involved.  He was president of the Association from 1996-97 and all through his term of office promoted the cause which was so important to him.  He was awarded the L. Jonathan Ross Award for Outstanding Commitment to Legal Services for the Poor in 2004.


His Life in the Law


Hall was born in White Plains, N.Y, and grew up in Westchester County and in Cleveland, Ohio, with his three brothers, Kit, Jerry, and Lennie.  He graduated from Williams College in 1968, and then taught sixth grade in Hartford, Conn. for a year.


After he married his wife Laurie, he moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., attending law school at the University of Michigan and graduating in 1972.  He joined the NH Bar in 1972.


He began the practice of law at the McLane Law Firm in Manchester and then

joined Stanley M. Brown in his practice.  The law firm eventually evolved into the Hall Stewart Professional Association, where Hall practiced until the end of December 2006, when his illness prevented him from continuing.


His longtime business partner Ed Stewart said that sometimes a lawyer is described as a “lawyer’s lawyer,” but that Hall was truly a client’s lawyer.  “He really felt he had an obligation to give 150 percent — whether it was for a pro bono client…or for anybody else who needed legal services,” Stewart said.  “That attribute carried over into his personal life, where he did a lot of volunteer work for his community.”


Hall frequently contributed time to the Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs and was a longtime member of the CLE Committee.  He also served as the first chair of the NHMCLE Board, and served as chair of the Legislation Committee and the Pro Bono Referral Board. He was a member of the NH Bar Association’s Federal Practice Section and a member of many professional organizations.  Among them were the American Bar Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the NH Trial Lawyers Association and the Manchester Bar Association.; he was also a member of the International Society of Barristers.


In the Community


In community affairs, Hall was a delegate to the New Hampshire Constitutional Convention in 1984, served several terms on the Concord School Board, and was active in politics. Having been a high school and college wrestler, he coached wrestling at the YMCA and helped to initiate the wrestling program at Concord High School.


For recreation, Hall enjoyed tennis and squash, hiking, snowshoeing and skiing, home improvement projects, and photography and renewed his interest in golf when his sons were old enough to join him.


Hall is survived by his wife, Laurie; his sons, Matt and Peter; his daughter-in-law Kristin; his grandsons, Max and Charlie; his brothers and their families; extended family members, and many friends and colleagues.


Donations may be made in Hall’s name to the Campaign for Legal Services, 1361 Elm St., Suite 307, Manchester 03101-1323


The creation of the Pro Bono Program is detailed in the December 2003 (Vol. 44, No. 4) of the New Hampshire Bar Journal.   


Bar News thanks the NH Union Leader for permission to use information from its obituary notice of Sat. Feb. 24, 2007 in this article.


On behalf of our colleague Michael P. Hall, the New Hampshire Bar Association’s  Board of Governors has contributed to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation, 2 Pillsbury Street, Concord, NH 03301.


Memorial Service


A memorial service in celebration of Hall’s life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10. 


There will be a reception immediately following (from 3-6 p.m.) at the NH Bar Center Seminar Room on the lower level of 2 Pillsbury Street, Concord.


Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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