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Bar News - July 20, 2007


New Hampshire Bar Association Budget Questions and Answers

 

How is the budget created and approved?

 Annual Revenue Sources

 

           

The Finance Committee, chaired by the president-elect (Eleanor Dahar for the 2007-2008 budget year), works with the management staff to develop a proposed budget based on projections of continued, new, changed or discontinued programming and services. The proposed budget is presented to the full Board of Governors for approval, and is then presented to the membership through publication in Bar News.  Also, a separate information session is held at the Bar Center for member questions and comments.  This year’s budget information session will be scheduled in the fall – watch Bar News and the weekly E-Bulletins for the date.

 

Are the financials audited?  What do the auditors say?

           

The financials of the New Hampshire Bar Association are audited on an annual basis by an independent CPA firm.  For a number of years, the auditors’ notes and comments have been brief, expressing no serious concerns, and we have received an unqualified opinion on the audited financials.  At the request of the Board of Governors, our auditors also prepare a Management Report identifying areas where improvements can be made.  Management then takes steps to address these suggestions from the auditors.

 

Total Revenue Budget for 2007 – 2008     $ 3,578,558

(Includes all dues, CLE revenues, grants, publication revenues,                            

fundraising, and other non-dues revenue.)

 

Membership Dues (approximately 40% of revenue)            $ 1,371,395 

 

Continuing Legal Education Product Revenue       $    753,000      

Non-CLE Publications & Advertising Revenue       $  284,000

 

Revenue from Grants      $    549,000

 

Total Personnel Expenses (Salary, benefits, taxes, insurance)       $ 2,215,000 

 

Overhead and Program Expenses            $ 1,363,000

 

           

2007-2008 Allocation of Total Annual Resources
 
What is the size of the budget?  What are the major components?

           

Virtually all activities of the NHBA are service-related; hence the single largest expense in the budget is staffing to carry out those services.  Of the 37 full-time and 5 part-time positions in the budget, 11 are funded in whole or in part by grants. 

 

That’s a big budget – how does it affect dues?

           

The majority of the Association’s revenue (approximately 60%) is generated from non-dues sources, and we continually seek out additional such opportunities to minimize the impact on dues.  According to information collected by the American Bar Association, NHBA dues are in the average range nationally.  (New Hampshire’s highest dues category rate of $270 should not be confused with fees for the Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee, NHMCLE administration or the Public Protection Fund, which the Bar collects as a courtesy for the court and as a convenience for members.)

 

Were there any increases in NH Bar Association dues or Supreme Court fees this year?

           

Except for a previously scheduled $5 increase to active members, membership dues remained unchanged for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.  The $5 increase is the second in a series of planned annual $5 increases to offset the additional occupancy cost of providing more space for member use at our new location.  As a service to the Court and for the convenience of members, the Association also collects the mandatory NH Supreme Court fees.  For the 2007-2008 year, Professional Conduct Committee fees remained unchanged.  Due in part to a proposal made by Bar leadership, the Court has reduced the Public Protection Fund (PPF) assessment this year.  The Court has also designated a portion of this year’s PPF fee to fund an independent Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) in the belief that offering this diversion option for attorneys will have the effect of reducing potential future claims against the fund.

           

The NHMCLE Program has made some significant changes this year, including updating its reporting system, to lighten the burden of attorneys subject to the ruling.  Attorneys whose reported CLE attendance as of the June 30 deadline satisfies the annual requirement will receive a report to review to verify the accuracy of their reported courses, but will NOT be required to return the report.  (The NHBA-CLE program is one of the CLE providers that reports attendance information to NHMCLE on behalf of attorneys who attend our courses.)  In order to fund the added cost of instituting this new reporting system, the Court has assessed a new $10 NHMCLE fee on all attorneys subject to the rule.

 

Why do we make money on CLE?

           

The NHBA CLE program is committed to offering high-quality continuing legal education, specific to New Hampshire law, in a variety of formats and covering a wide range of subject and experience levels to meet member needs – while generating revenue for the Association that reduces our dependence on membership dues to fund programs and initiatives. The pricing of the programs is typically well below market cost, and participant evaluations indicate consistently high quality and value. 

 

What are Reserve Funds, and how do they work?

           

Reserve Funds are recommended for most not-for-profit organizations, and are used most often to set aside funds to ensure an organization’s long-term viability in the case of unforeseen events, as well as to build funds to pay for future significant capital expenditures or other special projects.  This year’s budget anticipates drawing funds from reserves to replace outdated equipment, subsidize the cost of providing Casemaker at no additional cost to all members of the Bar Association, and reduce the amount of the dues increase.


To view the 2007-2008 NH Bar Association Budget, click here

 

NHLAP: A confidential Independent Resource

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