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Bar News - June 8, 2007

NHBA Salutes 50-Year Members


In this issue Bar News recognizes 10 Bar members who have reached a significant milestone in their lives and careers: their fiftieth year in the practice of law. All of these members will be honored on Friday evening, June 22, during the 2007 NHBA Annual Meeting at The BALSAMS in Dixville Notch. Their names are listed below, followed by the profiles of those who responded to a Bar News questionnaire about their lives and careers.


50-Year Members


G. Wells Anderson

Paul V. Brown, Jr.

Louie C. Elliott, Jr.

Philip J. Ganem

Peter V. Grillo

John F. Lake

Joseph P. Mulherrin

Hon. William J. O’Neil (Ret.)

Dorothy R. Sullivan

Robert B. Welts



G. Wells Anderson

                                    G. Wells Anderson

G. Wells Anderson was born in New Bedford, Mass., but grew up in Damariscotta, Maine. He attended Bowdoin College, graduating in 1954 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1957.


“My father was a lawyer in Damariscotta,” says Anderson, “but he died at the age of 44 when I was only 18. It was then I decided to go to law school.” He was admitted to both the NH and Maine bars the year he graduated from Harvard.


From 1963-67, Anderson was Merrimack County Attorney and then became Assistant Attorney General from 1967-68. From 1957-67, he was also employed by H. Thornton Lorimer. He joined Hall, Morse, Anderson, Miller and Spinella in 1968, where he still works; his special areas of practice include litigation, probate law, estate planning law and bankruptcy law.


In his community, Anderson served on the Concord School Board from 1962-72, acting as chair in 1967-68. He was also the director of charitable trusts for the State of New Hampshire from 1971-75 and has been a trustee at Coe Brown Academy. Anderson served on the NHBA Board of Governors from 1980-83 and since 1985 has been a member of the Clients Indemnity Fund.


One of the things of which he is most proud is that—along with David Nixon and Kimon Zachos—he drafted RSA 458:7(a), often called the “irreconcilable differences” statute.

            Anderson says his role model has been Judge Thornton Lorimer because “he taught me how to be a lawyer.”


He has been married to Maureen (Langandeer) since 1983. Previously he was married to Joanne (Bailey), with whom he had three children: Todd W. Anderson, Lauren Reilly—and Kristen Anderson, who died in 1983.


Anderson is at present semi-retired. When he retires fully, he and his wife Maureen plan to do more traveling.


Paul V. Brown, Jr.

                                     Paul V. Brown, Jr.

Paul V. Brown, Jr. says that he feels fortunate to have reached this 50-Year milestone. A Portsmouth native, he attended Boston University College of Business Administration and then Boston University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1956. He became a member of the NH Bar in 1957.


Brown served in the US Naval Reserve, which he says was different from any other education he experienced—and not to be missed! He decided to become a lawyer because he thought of the profession as a way to help people, including his own family, deal with various laws and legal situations. While in law school, Brown worked summers for Attorney Thomas Morris doing title searches.


After graduating, he became associated with Robert Shaines for eight years and then went into solo practice for five years. Then he worked with James Fitzpatrick for 27 years. All of these positions were in Portsmouth and for the first 20 years of his career, Brown’s practice was of a general nature; the next 20 involved estate planning.


Brown says he is most proud of keeping his integrity, free from political or other influences. His role models were his professors at Boston University School of Law; Professor Raymond Mannix at the College of Business Administration; and Attorney Robert Shaines. His parents and brother also inspired him.


In his community, Brown served as chair of the state executive committee for the NH-YMCA for three years—and for over 30 years he has served the Seacoast YMCA in Portsmouth, as a member of the board of directors and off-and-on as president. He was president of the NH Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1959; he was also Exalted Ruler of the Portsmouth Lodge of Elks in 1970.


Brown says, “I married the love of my life, Glenvia, in 1955 and we have three sons—Roger, Gregory and Jeffrey. Glenvia and I are active in our church and were co-treasurers for three years. Glenvia enjoys crafts and gardening; I enjoy computing, golfing and walking—and we both enjoy our family and friends—and traveling to far-away places.”


Louie C. Elliott, Jr.

Louie C. Elliot, Jr.


“The years go by and I enjoy all of them,” said Louie C. Elliott, Jr. about reaching his fiftieth year of bar membership.


Elliott was born in Duke, Oklahoma on August 20, 1925. He grew up in Roger Mills county in western Oklahoma, attended the Institute of Technology in Wetherford, Okla., the University of Oklahoma for pre-law courses, and Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., from which he graduated in 1956.


From 1943 to 1969, Elliott served as a US Air Force officer and pilot. “I loved flying,” he says—and that included 12 years of flying B-47s. He also flew B-52s for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the Cold War era.


Elliott became a lawyer because “I wanted to help people, my community and country. I even thought originally of holding state and federal offices.”


“I became a country lawyer with a general practice, first in Stillwell, Okla., and then in Woodsville and Newport. I was the Claremont City Solicitor for 10 years and served as a Master, hearing cases in all 10 counties for about eight years.”


One landmark achievement, Elliott believes, was that he convinced a Grafton County jury that Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones, two controversial movies, were not obscene under the NH Pornography Statute.


Elliott was a member of the Newport School Board, the Town Moderator, and was on the NHBA Board of Governors and the Law Foundation.


Elliott has four children by his first wife Nell and two by his second wife Joan.


He is retired and lives alone now, playing golf three times a week. He likes to garden and works on home improvement projects; “I’m always busy and enjoy life fully,” he says.


Philip Joseph Ganem

Rhilip Ganem


Philip Joseph Ganem was born and raised in Manchester. Following high school, he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served under General Douglas MacArthur, “occupying and revitalizing Japan.” After he left the military, he went to the University of New Hampshire and then Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1956. He joined the NH Bar the next year.


“I would be considered a general practitioner,” he said. “My office did everything from probate to pro bono to defending an 86-year-old man charged with growing and selling marijuana.”


“I loved practicing law and helping people. However, I suffered a stroke in 2002 and had to retire. To me the law is an honorable profession and I miss it every day. I would feel much better about reaching this milestone if I could still practice.”


Ganem served on the school board of the Governor Wentworth Regional School District for 11 years, nine of them as chair. “I met and worked with terrific educators and community leaders who have become lifelong friends.”


During Gov. Hugh Gallen’s administration, Ganem was asked to consider becoming a superior court justice. He says, “I thought about it, but decided against it. As a judge I would be removed from clients and serving them was what I enjoyed most about practicing law.”


Ganem considered Judge Leahy a mentor and role model. “James Kalled gave me my first job and I learned a great deal from him, too.”


“My wife of 46 years [Shirley] and I met in Egypt on a trip as guests of the Arabic-speaking countries. After we were married the following year, we moved to Wolfeboro where we raised our three children. Mitchell, our oldest, lives in New York City. He is a location manager and screenwriter and will be directing a movie in New Hampshire this fall.”


“Larry, our second son, lives in New Jersey and works in New York City for DC Comics. He’s a writer, too.”


“Our daughter Jennifer followed in my footsteps and became an attorney.”



John F. Lake

John F. Lake


“After 50 years at the Bar, I still enjoy the challenge of preparing each case and determining how I can best accomplish successful results for my client,” says John F. Lake. “I continue to have a great love for the law and respect for our country’s judicial system. However, I think that the introduction of cameras into the courtroom and garish advertising by some has done much to detract from the dignity and professionalism of practice.”


Lake was born and raised in Philadelphia. He received his BA at Penn State and his JD degree from Rutgers Law School in Camden, NJ, both degrees under the GI Bill.       


“I enlisted in the US Marine Corps at the age of 17,” Lake says, “and I consider my military experience to be an education equal to all my academic pursuits.”


Lake served in the Pacific as a member of a demolition squad during World War II, and in Peking and Tientsin, China. During the Korean War, he was assigned to the military courts martial at the Philadelphia Naval Yard.


“Surprisingly, I had some success as defense counsel and requests from fellow enlisted personnel for my representation became frequent. These experiences helped to spark my interest in the study of law. Shortly after my discharge I enrolled at Rutgers.”


After graduation, Lake set up practice in Camden, NJ. “I was mayor of Mt. Laurel, NJ, from 1960-65, during the time of the well-publicized zoning battles that ultimately were decided in the US Supreme Court, resulting in what is known today as the Mt. Laurel decision.”


“During my years of practice in New Jersey, my client base included real estate investors and developers, construction companies and restaurant owners, nightclub proprietors, gamblers, bookies, swindlers and rogues of all sorts, some with purported underworld ties.”         


Another unique experience for Lake was the organizing of a football bowl game in Florida. The enormity of that task still amazes him: leasing a stadium, obtaining approval by NCAA authorities, drafting and finalizing agreements with television producers, contracts with players and coaches, and a vast number of other varied details.


Lake’s role models in the field of law were the late Robert Knowlton, his criminal law professor at Rutgers and the Hon. W. Orville Schalick, assignment judge for the Superior Court of Camden County.


As for his community involvements, Lake has been chairman of both the Burlington County, NJ, Library Commission and of the NJ State Library Trustees Association. “It is gratifying to know that New Jersey’s public library services increased greatly during my administration,” he says.


Lake was married to Marlyne (Waddell) in 1950. They had four sons and had lived in New Hampshire for four years before her accidental death. After being a widower for 12 years, he married Marianne (Howell) in 1990 and they continue to reside in Barnstead. “With seven children and seven grandchildren, our family life is quite busy,” says Lake.


“I am fortunate that my health is good and I have been able to continue practicing as a sole practitioner, working from my Barnstead home. I handle criminal defense, probate and varied civil matters…. I have no thought of retiring, as I still enjoy the professional challenges.”


Hon. William T. O’Neil

Hon. William T. O'Neil


Hon. William Jennings O’Neil was born in Manchester on August 13, 1929. He graduated from St. Anselm College in 1951 and then served in the Korean War as an officer in the air force.


Upon returning from the War, Judge O’Neil worked at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC from 1953-58 as an administrative assistant. At the same time he attended Georgetown University Law School, graduating in 1957 with a JD degree and a Master’s degree in 1958.


O’Neil married Grace (Annis) in 1961 and they have had six children: Coleen, William, Shane, James, John and Mary (now deceased). He served in the NH Attorney General’s Office from 1958-67 and was deputy attorney general when he left there to become Manchester city prosecutor in 1967 and served in that capacity until 1970, then became an associate justice of the Manchester District Court from 1970-83. From there, O’Neil went on to the superior court, where he served until 1994.


O’Neil joined the NH Bar in 1957 and has been a member of the Manchester Bar. He has served on the Administrative Committee for District and Municipal Courts and has been a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee (1977-83). In his community, he has been a member of the Sweeney Post American Legion, a member of the Elks Club and the Raphael Social Club.


“When I passed the bar,” says O’Neil, “there were for that year, 21 out of 31—or 32 [who passed]. The [exam was at] the Supreme Court in the courtroom at the state library. If you got there first—I did—for the three-day, all-New Hampshire essay questions, you could get one of the judges’ chairs and if not, you were on the floor with a card table and folding chair. There were no national questions, no multiple choice.”


O’Neil says he feels “gratified and lucky” to have reached this 50-year milestone. He is now retired, but still busy; and says about his retirement: “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”


Robert B. Welts

Robert B. Welts

“I am very grateful that I was fortunate enough to have chosen a career and profession that not only has given me great satisfaction for 50 years, but which I still enjoy and am able to continue with on a full-time schedule,” says Robert B. Welts.


Welts was born in Boston in 1933 and raised in Milton, Mass. He graduated from Boston College in 1954 and Boston College Law School in 1957; he received a master’s degree in tax law from Boston University in 1962.


During his three years as a member of the NH Air National Guard, he spent six months of active duty at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.


Welts has practiced in Nashua for his entire career at the following firms:

McLaughin and Enright (1957-1958); Sweeney and Welts (1958-1963); and Smith, Welts, Currier and Connor (various names over the years) 1963-1978.


“In 1978, I started my own practice,” he says. In 1983, the firm name was changed to Welts and White; in 1994 it became Welts, White & Fontaine.


“Although in my early years I did a little bit of everything, at present my practice is usually confined to real estate, land-use, probate, estate-planning and small business matters.”


The professional achievement that Welts says he’s most proud of is the starting of his own practice in 1978, after 21 years of practice with others. “I built it with my present partners into a firm of eight attorneys.”


In his community, Welts has been chairman of the Nashua Zoning Board of Adjustment (1959-1961); Alderman for the City of Nashua (1962-1963); and president of the Nashua Bar Association (1978).


Rose, his wife for over 47 years, passed away in March of this year. Their only child Ryan and his wife Corrinne own and operate a hay farm and equestrian center in Hollis and Brookline. Welts has a 16-month-old granddaughter and a second granddaughter expected in August.


“I am still working full-time as an attorney at Welts, White & Fontaine,” says Welts. “I am also very active in road racing, participating in more than 30 races a year. I am a member of the Gate City Striders Track Club and participate in weekly year-round training sessions under coaching supervision.”


Immediately after the Bar’s Annual Meeting, Welts will be leaving for Louisville, Ky., where he has qualified for the second time to participate in the National Senior Games, where he will be running in three events.



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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