Bar News - November 9, 2007
Board Discusses ‘Hybrid’ Rule 170 Plan
Continuing several months of discussions, the NHBA Board of Governors at its Oct. 18 meeting heard from Karen Borgstrom, director of the Judicial Branch Office of Mediation and Arbitration (OMA) about the latest iteration of a new Rule 170 alternative dispute resolution program that would use both volunteer and paid mediators.
The latest revamp of Rule 170 as developed by the judicial branch calls for participating attorneys to pay a “rostering fee” to be listed as a mediator on the Court’s Web site. Chief Justice John Broderick obtained funding for the OMA from the legislature in the last session by promising that the program would be self-sustaining by the second year of the biennium.
This summer, a proposal in the works for more than a year that would expand the Rule 170 program statewide called for using mediators paid by the parties and requiring several days’ worth of training for anyone certified to mediate under the rule. The new plan encountered opposition from Bar members who did not want to see the program’s voluntary nature eliminated and who criticized the program’s lack of flexibility in certification and in selection of mediators.
Court leaders and members of the Bar met several times over the summer and are continuing to discuss an alternative program that would generate revenue for the program through mediators’ registration fees and offered the flexibility that would allow mediators to volunteer for cases. Also, parties would be able to choose their mediator and the location of mediation instead of having their choices limited. (View a compilation of the proposals and related correspondence on this issue at www.nhbar.org)
The meeting also included executive sessions where the Board conducted interviews with the three superior court nominees.
The Board also voted to appoint Jeremy T. Walker to a three-year term on the Pro Bono Governing Board.
The Board delayed until its November meeting a discussion of proposed changes to rules for the Public Protection Fund sought by the Public Protection Fund Committee.
NHBA President Eleanor Dahar also updated the Board on two upcoming events – an Oct. 29 reception for NHBA members who are members of the legislature, and a dinner on Nov. 1 for past NHBA presidents.
The next Board of Governors meeting is set for Nov. 15.