Bar News - July 6, 2007
Eleanor Wm Dahar Becomes Bar’s Fourth Woman President
By: Beverly Rorick
Now former NH Bar President Richard McNamara hands the gavel over to the new President Eleanor Wm. Dahar
The NH Bar Association’s 2007 Annual Meeting at The BALSAMS in Dixville Notch introduced the new Bar Association officers, with outgoing president Richard B. McNamara passing the gavel of office to incoming president Eleanor Wm. Dahar.
On the weekend of June 22-24, this year’s event drew almost 300 Bar members and their families to the historically famous BALSAMS resort.
On Friday evening, judges both recently retired and recently appointed, were recognized. The Hon. Joseph A. DeClerico, Jr., now a senior status judge on the US District Court, and a former Superior Court Chief Justice, received the Justice William A. Grimes Award for Judicial Professionalism. The Award for Distinguished Service to the Legal Profession was presented to the Hon. John R. Maher, who retired as Probate Court Administrative Judge in January, and who was instrumental in lawyers’ assistance efforts and many community activities over the years. The Bar also recognized its 50-year members, three of whom were in attendance: retired Superior Court JudgeWilliam J. O’Neil, and attorneys Robert B.Welts and John F. Lake.
Braving cloudy skies and windy, chilly weather, attendees turned out for golfing, tennis, garden tours and hiking, or enjoyed indoor activities such as culinary demonstrations, movies and relaxing with colleagues, friends and family.
On Saturday evening, first-term Congressman Paul W. Hodes, a former trial lawyer at the Shaheen & Gordon law firm, spoke to dinner guests after returning to NH from Washington, DC with his wife Peggo. Hodes said he regarded it as an “incredible privilege” to represent the state of New Hampshire and mentioned several challenges facing Congress and the nation. “What does it mean to be an American in the 21st century?” he asked. There are many concerns which face citizens in the present era, he said, such as caring for the environment, striving to develop a foreign policy that is not divisive—and putting candidates “to the test” in the light of what Americans need to do to fulfill the dreams of the founding fathers.
Left to right: Judge Carol Ann Conboy, Congressman Paul W. Hodes, NH Bar President Eleanor Wm Dahar, Peggo Hodes
Transitions on the NHBA Board of Governors also were noted, with plaques presented to members of the Board whose terms were ending, including Immediate Past President Richard Uchida.
Before current president McNamara passed the gavel to new president Dahar, he gave a brief overview of the past year and some of the goals which had been met: for instance, the establishment of Rule 57 (the Lawyers’ Assistance Program), the beginning of an alternative screening process for attorneys at NH’s courthouses, the simplification of NHMCLE procedures, and the emphasis on demonstrating the value of the legal profession, an initiative begun by Past President Richard Y. Uchida and carried forward by McNamara.
When Dahar spoke, she urged members to help her make the Bar Association more relevant to all members. “Let us know what you’d like to see done…and get involved yourselves.” She said she wanted to continue the good work begun by her predecessors and stressed that she was particularly interested in learning how members are giving back to their communities. “I want to let the public know how active we are and how involved.” (For Dahar’s first column, see page 4.)
Dahar is the fourth woman to be elected president of the NH Bar, preceded by Patti Blanchette (1992-1993), Susan B. Carbon (1993-1994), and Martha Van Oot (2002-2003). Next year, Dahar will hand the president’s gavel to Ellen Arnold who earlier this year was elected President-Elect and will automatically succeed Dahar.