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Bar News - May 9, 2008

Women Trailblazers Celebrated at NHWBA Gala Dinner


From left, attorney Christine McCarthy Smith, Hon. Tina Nadeau, Hon. Kenneth Brown, Hon. Timothy Vaughan and attorney Kristin Mendoza.
Attorney Linda Connell listens to Senior Associate Justice of the NH Supreme Court Linda Dalianis as she speaks after receiving a Women Trailblazer in the Law Award.
More than 225 attorneys turned out recently for the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association 10th Anniversary Gala on April 10, where six women were honored for their work in advancing the status of women in the legal profession. NH Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, Judge Jean Burling, Judge Susan Carbon, Supreme Court Justice Linda Dalianis, Maureen Raiche-Manning and Jennifer Parent were presented with the
Women Trailblazers in the Law Award.

"Between 1917 and 1977, the first 100 women were admitted to practice law in New Hampshire," said NHWBA President Katherine Brown during her introductory remarks. "Today, we have over 2,000. We’ve come a long way, and it is thanks in part to those we’re honoring tonight."

Kelly Ayotte, the first woman to serve as attorney general of the state of New Hampshire, worked at McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton before joining the Office of the Attorney General in 1998. In 2005, only a year after her appointment, she argued before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the state, in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. In her concluding remarks, she thanked her family (and her mother in particular) for their support.

Judge Jean K. Burling, the first female judge in the state of New Hampshire, was appointed to the Claremont District Court in 1979 by Governor Hugh Gallen. In 197, she was appointed as a justice in the Family Division and served on the Superior Court from 1999-2008. Burling, recently retired, remembered her tenure on the bench fondly and thanked her husband Peter for his support.

Christine McCarthy Smith and Maureen Raiche-Manning of Manchester firm Manning & Smith.

Jennifer Parent, center, speaks after accepting a Trailblazer in the Law Award. Behind her stand 2008 NH Women's Bar Association officers.

Judge Susan Carbon, appointed to the bench in 1991, has been a Supervisory Judge of the NH Judicial Branch Family Division since 1996. She has trained judges and other professionals across the country and internationally on topics related to family violence, firearms, child custody and child protection.

Justice Linda Dalianis, the first woman to hold a seat on the NH Supreme Court, has served on the Superior Court bench and was Superior Court Chief Justice before her appointment in 2000 to the NH Supreme Court by Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. Dalianis thanked the NHWBA for the award and got laughs when she pointed out, "I’ve been a judge longer than most new admittees to the bar have been alive."

Maureen Raiche-Manning, a partner of the Law Offices of Smith and Manning in Manchester, was a founding member of the NH Women’s Bar Association and served as its first president. Manning cited a low percentage of women on the NH bench and said that in order to bring that level higher; women interested in serving must make their desires known to the public and to the legal community.

Jennifer Parent, a director in the litigation department at McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, is a founding member of the NHWBA and served successive terms as its Secretary, Vice President and President. She is a previous winner of the NH Bar Foundation Kirby Award and was a 2007 Union Leader "40 Under 40" honoree. Parent spoke on the need for the development of mentoring and education that would promote and encourage women as leaders and women in leadership, finishing with a quote from the first female doctor in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell: "For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women."

After an eventful dinner, keynote speaker Pamela Roberts, chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession, stressed to listeners the importance of women in leadership positions bringing up new, professional women through mentoring, education and mutual support.

"Once you get to the top," Roberts said. "You’ve got to put down the ladder so the others can climb up."

The night was capped off by a raffle of Red Sox tickets donated by the law firm of Rath, Young & Pignatelli. Proceeds from the raffle and a portion of the proceeds from the dinner will go to the Winnie McLaughlin Scholarship Fund, a collaborative venture of the NHWBA and Franklin Pierce Law School. The fund provides scholarships to female law students who have excelled academically and have dedicated themselves to advancing women in society.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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