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Bar News - March 7, 2008

Pro Bono Program Presents Awards for Distinguished Pro Bono Service


Alvin Nix, of Laconia, was presented with a Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award – Sole Practitioner category. Here he is congratulated by Justice James E. Duggan as Nix is on his way to accept the award. Carolann Wooding, Pro Bono coordinator, is at right.
Eleven individual attorneys and four law firms received Pro Bono Awards for Distinguished Pro Bono Service at this year’s Midyear Meeting on Feb. 15 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. The awards, presented by NHBA President Eleanor Dahar and NHBA Director of Legal Services Virginia Martin, were given to those in the New Hampshire legal community who have given precious time and effort in pursuit of the ideals of the NH Bar Association’s Pro Bono Program.
Following, please find brief biographies of those that received awards. 

L. Jonathan Ross Award 

The L. Jonathan Ross Award for Outstanding Commitment to Legal Services for the Poor was given to Katherine B. Stearns, a sole practitioner in New London. Remarkably, she donated 1500 hours to 40 clients. According to the NHBA Pro Bono Program, “her exemplary commitment to legal services to the poor makes her truly deserving of the L. Jonathan Ross award and all that it represents.”


Shining Stars


John C. Norton, Sole Practitioner

As chair of the Pro Bono Program board, he helps keep the program moving forward in creative, responsive ways. Concerned with alternative legal delivery options for those in need, John was instrumental in writing comprehensive new unbundled rules.


Althea L. Froburg, Sole Practitioner

Combining the special qualities of rural lawyering and service to the less fortunate, Althea Froburg has demonstrated year after year an extraordinary commitment to helping the less fortunate individuals and families of the North Country.


Paul W. Mullen, Alkalay & Smillie

Attorney Paul Mullen has gone above and beyond in service to his clients. Whether there is a client needing help in a landlord/tenant dispute, a victim of domestic abuse in desperate need of a restraining order or a client seeking a divorce with parental rights issues, he is willing to listen and help if he can.


David L. Nixon, Nixon Raiche Vogelman

David Nixon was awarded for his enthusiastic support of the Pro Bono Program. Recognized for his passionate support of, and involvement in, the DOVE Project and its clients. David consistently takes DOVE cases representing survivors at final restraining order hearings, mentors new lawyers, recruits colleagues, promotes and helps market the DOVE Project and backs his actions with financial contributions.


Devine SWAT Team, Devine, Millimet & Branch

The Swift Working Attorneys for Tenants Project, or SWAT, is the brainchild of the Devine, Millimet & Branch firm as a way to help lower income families confronted with landlord/tenant issues. The award focused on the team, Divine, Millimet and Branch attorneys: Matthew Johnson, Alexander Walker, Holly Kilbarda, Jonathan Shirley, Jonathan Eck and Brian Moushegian.


Ronald P. Indorf, Sole Practitioner

Attorney Indorf, a sole practitioner in Strafford County, is an active volunteer on the Pro Bono and DOVE panels, having accepted 12 Pro Bono clients in just the past two years. When the Pro Bono staff calls, he answers.


Joel J. Rogge, Sole Practitioner

In the winter of 2007, attorney Joel Rogge traveled from his Ipswich, Massachusetts office to Concord to meet with the Pro Bono Program staff to offer his time and service to the low-income NH seniors facing bankruptcy. He presented a plan to meet with elderly clients at the bar Center to assist them with securing a fresh financial start, accepting nine cases that year.


Alvin E. Nix, Jr., Sole Practitioner

Alvin Nix’s Pro Bono caseload runs the gamut from family law to housing issues to bankruptcy. While grateful for his assistance in all areas, the Pro Bono Program is especially grateful for his help with bankruptcy cases, where need is great since volunteer resources have diminished with the exodus of attorneys from this practice.


Judith A. Roman, Sole Practitioner

Year in and year out, Judith Roman has maintained an almost unparalleled level of service centered on tough domestic law cases, dedicating hundreds of hours of time annually to meet the legal needs of low-income people.


Catherine Shanelaris & Jane Schirch, Shanelaris & Schirch

The law firm of Shanelaris & Schirch can always be counted on to help the Pro Bono Program and its clients in multiple ways. Consistently responsive to calls from staff, Cathy Shanelaris and Jane Schirch have accepted numerous cases and provided countless hours of free legal services to vulnerable Pro Bono clients, especially those with family law problems.


McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton

The McLane law firm is one of the mainstays of the Pro Bono Program. The firm fosters and sustains the ethic of Pro Bono involvement, inculcating the importance of pro bono service to the extent that attorneys who began their careers at McLane continue their participation in new settings. Last year alone, the firm accepted more than 50 new cases from the Pro Bono Program. Attorneys highlighted were: Jack B. Middleton, Jeremy Walker, Darrel Chichester, Adam Hamel and Beth Fowler.


Wiggin & Nourie

The lives of a great many individuals and families have been changed for the better due to the work of attorneys at the firm Wiggin & Nourie. For more than two decades, Wiggin & Nourie has followed through on its commitment to accept two new pro bono cases each month. Attorneys highlighted were: L. Jonathan Ross, Carol Kunz and Darla Sedgwick.


Rising Star Pro Bono Awards

John L. McGowan, Donahue Tucker & Ciandella

Newly admitted on Nov. 7, 2007, Mr. McGowan did not wait for Pro Bono to call him. Instead, he contacted the NH Bar Association inquiring as to what he could do for Pro Bono clients. Not daunted by the challenging issues posed, he took on a family law matter, noting that he had mentors in his own firm that would assist him as necessary. The Pro Bono Program looks forward to many more years of working with this “Rising Star.”


Heather M. Tacconi, Law Offices of Stephen C. Brown

Admitted on Jan. 8, 2008, Ms. Tacconi called Pro Bono even before the “Swearing In” ceremony with her wish list for potential clients. Pro Bono staff linked her with a client the following day! The Program thanks Heather for her interest in supporting the Pro Bono Program and looks forward to many years of working with her.







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