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Bar News - October 5, 2007

Volunteer Service – A Priority Among Members


Eleanor Dahar

As attorneys, we have busy work schedules and family commitments.  It is difficult to remember to balance work and life issues.  With all of the electronic and technological correspondence available, it is easy to let volunteerism take a back seat. 


There are a significant number of New Hampshire Bar members who make the effort amidst their crowded day to volunteer their time.  Most of the volunteer work of attorneys remains unrecognized and unpublished.


Each month this is apparent in the Bar News with the lists of attorneys in each county who take on Pro Bono cases and resolve legal problems and issues for people.  Throughout the state, the number of Pro Bono cases and the need for assistance continues to increase and the number of attorneys volunteering to accept these cases grows.


Consistently, I am impressed and humbled that no matter how occupied members are, they will always take the phone call and accept more assignments. 


Members continue to volunteer their time to the Bar’s legal education programs, namely A Lawyer in Every School, We the People, the Citizen & the Constitution and Project Citizen programs.  These efforts have a tremendous impact on students throughout the state.


In other areas, members volunteer and their efforts result in a positive effect on the lives of people in their communities.  This was apparent last week with the sad news that Scott Innes has passed away.  He made such an impact as a coach volunteering his time to youth soccer that the Town of Litchfield announced plans to name a park after him.  The Bar appreciates all of Scott’s volunteerism. 


Similarly, in the Laconia region, John LaBoe provides educational information seminars on wills, trusts and powers of attorney monthly to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  Jim Carroll has been involved with Parents and Children Together (PACT) in the Laconia region for years.   In the Claremont area, Jim Feleen helps coach school lacrosse and cross country teams. Through the Boston College Alumni Association of New Hampshire, Dave Horan, Ray Kelley, Mary Ann Dempsey, Maureen Dwyer and Vin Wenners volunteer their time in the soup kitchens in Manchester and Nashua.  They also help to schedule volunteers at the Portsmouth soup kitchen.


It is impossible to list the names of all of the members who volunteer their time in service as coaches, on school boards, town councils, as directors and officers on boards of non-profit organizations, hospitals and charities and committees.  I suspect there is not enough room in the Bar News to list every member and each of the organizations.  It is apparent that the community efforts of members assist organizations in continuing to provide needed services.


The volunteer energy of members of the New Hampshire Bar throughout the state speaks volumes about the strong commitment the profession has towards communities.  Your quiet acts of volunteerism, beyond providing support to people in need, also benefit all members of the legal profession.  These community leaders generate goodwill and instill respect for lawyers.  Too often those who give the most have little time for acknowledgment or even a simple “thank you.”  On behalf of the New Hampshire Bar Association and as a fellow attorney, I am thankful and appreciate the volunteerism of our members.


Eleanor Dahar of the Dahar Professional Association, Manchester, is the 2007-08 NHBA President.



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