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Bar News - January 4, 2008

Bar Foundation News: Philanthropy at Work in New Hampshire - PART I


The New Hampshire Bar Foundation is entrusted with philanthropic donations by the legal community every year, in addition to providing stewardship over the revenue earned through the IOLTA Program. Through the Bar Foundation’s Justice Grants Program and IOLTA Grants Program the power of Bar members’ philanthropy is extraordinary.

Meet the People and Organizations Putting Your Gifts to Work this Year

Marcia Sink

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA NH)
- Executive Director Marcia Sink founded CASA NH in 1989. Marty oversees 400 hundred guardian ad litem volunteers, and with the legal counsel of Attorney David Sandberg, helps nearly 1,000 abused and neglected children find a safer home every year. CASA is appointed to about 70 percent of abuse/neglect cases by the District and Family Courts, more than 800 in 2006. The children served all have individual stories and unique experiences, but they all share a common history - their emotional and physical health have been jeopardized by a parent or caretaker. In addition to that victimization, their path to healthy development is now at the discretion of a court system that is stretched to capacity and needs someone with personal knowledge of the child’s history and current circumstances to help the judges make wise decisions. CASA volunteers advocate to ensure that no child’s story goes unheard, nor their needs unmet. CASA is located at 44 Walnut Street in Manchester. Learn more at:

Richard Cohen

Disabilities Rights Center (DRC)
- Executive Director Richard Cohen has been with DRC since 2002. He manages a staff of attorneys and support personnel who protect the rights of New Hampshire residents with cognitive, mental, sensory, and physical disabilities. "Because of the nature and severity of the deprivations to which individuals with disabilities are frequently subjected, obtaining access to justice for this client population often means a profound life change. For a child, it may mean an appropriate education and hope for a productive life; for a person with mental illness, justice may mean recovery and independence from inappropriate mental health treatment; for an adult with a developmental disability, it may mean an opportunity to live and work in the community and be free from abuse and neglect," says Cohen. Fourteen DRC attorneys work diligently to provide legal advocacy to nearly 5,000 people annually through legal representation and impact litigation. DRC played a pivotal role in 50 systemic activities in 2006 that benefited thousands, and provided rights training to 3,000 persons with disabilities and their families. DRC is located at 18 Low Avenue in Concord. Learn more at:

Peter Wright

Franklin Pierce Law Center, Civil Practice Clinic
- Professor Peter Wright and another faculty member, along with law school students, provide legal counsel to nearly 200 of New Hampshire’s poorest residents annually, and represents another 60 in court. With the housing crisis of the past several years, the Clinic has focused on litigating against predatory lenders, seeking bankruptcy protection, and Chapter 13 plans. Given the time-consuming nature of bankruptcy cases, they are difficult to place pro bono, so the work of CPC is especially important. Under the supervision of two full-time faculty, who are also members of the NH Bar, law students provide direct representation to indigent clients in a range of matters, including housing preservation, home foreclosures, bankruptcy, debt collection defense, and consumer protection matters. FPLC Civil Practice Clinic is located at 2 White Street in Concord. Learn more at:

Court Appointed Special Advocates, Disabilities Rights Center, and Franklin Pierce Civil Practice Clinic are just three of the twenty programs or agencies funded by the Bar Foundation’s Justice and IOLTA Grants during the past year. Check the next issue of Bar News for information on other programs serving New Hampshire residents.

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