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Bar News - February 8, 2008

Judge Jean K. Burling Retires for Health Reasons


Jean K. Burling

On Jan. 1, 2008, Associate Justice Jean K. Burling stepped down from the Grafton County Superior Court. In a letter to Gov. John Lynch, she cited health reasons for her decision to retire.


Judge Burling, 61, has served at every level of the state courts and was one of the first women appointed to a judgeship.


Admitted to the Bar in 1973 after obtaining a law degree from Boston University School of Law, she was appointed as a special justice at the Claremont District Court in 1979. Over the years, before becoming a superior court judge, Burling served at every level of the courts, including probate court and as a substitute panelist for the Supreme Court.   


She has served on many court committees and in May 2007 took an active part in NH’s drug court initiative in Grafton County, where she was the first judge to participate in the new program.


In 2003, Burling was honored by the NH Women’s Bar Association (NHWBA) with the Marilla M. Ricker award, which she received jointly with Emily Rice, of the Orr & Reno law firm, in recognition of their professional excellence and their efforts to advance the cause of women in the legal profession. 


At a special NHBWA program in Oct. 2006, Judge Burling sat on a panel which discussed the judicial selection process for women in the state (See Oct. 17, 2006 Bar News).  “I know it is difficult for many women to promote themselves,” she said.  “You have to be willing to put yourself out there.”  She advised applicants not to be discouraged by the selection process, but to keep on trying.


In a future issue, Bar News will publish an interview with Judge Burling.


On Jan. 30, Gov. Lynch announced that he was nominating Peter Bornstein, a part-time district court judge and senior partner at Bergeron, Hanson & Bornstein in Berlin, as Associate Justice to fill the vacant spot on the court. At presstime, the date had not been set for his public hearing before the Executive Council.


Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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