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Bar News - June 8, 2007

Judges DiClerico, Maher to Receive Awards


Judges Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr. and John R. Maher will be honored at the 2007 NHBA Annual Meeting on Friday, June 22, at The BALSAMS Grand Resort in Dixville Notch.


    Judge DiClerico 

Judge DiClerico, who recently assumed senior status on the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire, has been selected as the 2007 recipient of the Justice William A. Grimes Award for Judicial Professionalism. The award is presented to honor the memory of Justice William A. Grimes of the New Hampshire Supreme Court; this award is presented to a judge who best fits the following description:


“The judges, therefore, should always be men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man or body of men.”—John Adams, 1776.


DiClerico joined the federal court in 1992 and served as chief judge from 1992 to 1997, following a long career in public service and on the NH Superior Court bench. Born in Lynn, Mass. in 1941, DiClerico attended Williams College, where he received a B.A. in 1963, and Yale Law School where he earned his law degree in 1966.


DiClerico worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Aloysius Conner at the U.S. District Court from 1966 to 1967. He ran a private practice from 1968 to 1970, when he was appointed assistant attorney general. He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1977, and in 1991, he was named chief justice of the Superior Court. Most recently, he has served as the district court representative on the First Circuit Administrative Council.


        Judge Maher

Judge Maher retired in December 2006 as Probate Court administrative judge, is being presented with the 2007 Distinguished Service to the Profession Award, presented by NHBA President Richard B. McNamara. Maher was one of the founders of the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers self-help group, and, among other volunteer efforts, has been working on the development of a Lawyers’ Assistance Program to assist lawyers, judges and law students in New Hampshire who are confronting substance dependency or mental health issues. Maher, along with his wife, Skye, established the Hon. William F. Batchelder Fund at the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to support legal services for low-income and other disadvantaged people in New Hampshire, and he continues to work every year on fundraising efforts for the NH Bar Foundation.


Maher was appointed to the bench in 1990 and has been nationally recognized for his work in improving the efficiency and accountability of trusts and probate practices in the state; his career as a judge and judicial administrator led to his receiving the Grimes Judicial Professionalism Award in 2004.

The Distinguished Service to the Profession award, this year, recognizes Maher’s tireless efforts to assist attorneys, judges and others in the legal community who have struggled with addiction and mental health problems. His own recovery involved him in a self-help group, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, in Massachusetts, and led him to form a similar organization in New Hampshire. (Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers meets monthly in the state (except in the summer months) at the Manchester Country Club (For more information, call and leave a message at 603-674-1539.)

Maher was instrumental in the research that has resulted in adoption this year of Supreme Court Rule 57, creating a permanent Lawyers Assistance Program that will not be solely dependent on volunteers to provide outreach and support to impaired lawyers and judges.

Maher, even while on the bench, remained active in many voluntary efforts—ranging from hospice volunteering, to traveling to the Gulf Coast to aid in hurricane recovery, to reinvigorating the Suffolk University Law School Alumni Association in New Hampshire, which has started a loan repayment program to assist graduates who work in lower-paid, public-interest jobs. Maher is also a key supporter of the NH Bar Foundation.


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