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Bar News - May 23, 2008

Bar Foundation News: Gratitude, Appreciation, and Vision in Abundance

2008 Robert E. Kirby Award recipient, Charles Keefe, receives a standing ovation as he heads to the stage from forner Kirby Award recipients at the Bar Founation's Annual Dinner. Charle's wife, Nicole, is seated at the table.
The Bar Foundation presented NH Legal Assistance the Vickie Bunnell Memorial Fund Print for NHLAís new office in Concord. Receiving the print from Executive Director David Snyder (2nd from l) for NHLA were Cindee Carter (l), Stephanie Bray and Michael Perez.

In a room full of accomplished, generous, and philanthropically-minded individuals, three were selected for special honors at the New Hampshire Bar Foundationís Annual Dinner on May 8 at C.R. Sparks in Bedford.

With his court staff and family in attendance, Hon. Francis J. Frasier of Hampton District Court received the Frank Rowe Kenison Award. Judge Frasier spoke of the competence and compassion of his staff, the legal brilliance of Justice Kenison, and the deep honor of receiving the Kenison Award.

The 11 Kirby Award recipients (1996-2007) gave Charles J. Keefe a standing ovation as he received the 2008 Robert E. Kirby Award. With his law partners and family in attendance, Keefe spoke respectfully of Bob Kirby as he was known to others, and expressed his sincere gratitude to those who felt he was worthy of joining the esteemed group of Kirby Award recipients.

The dinnerís keynote speaker, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jess H. Dickinson, decided he had nothing to tell us at all. In fact, he was humbled by the tremendous achievements of the myriad programs successfully started and grown by New Hampshire Bar members. When preparing for his visit, his fellow justices suggested he teach us how to start a great Pro Bono program. He said to them, "Well, Iíve been doing some research and it turns out New Hampshire has had a Pro Bono program since 1978 and the director is receiving a national award on the very same day of my speech!" (See related item regarding Ginny Martinís Pro Bono Professional of the Year award on page one.) So they suggested he talk about the importance of legal services for the disadvantaged, the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from domestic abuse, pro se assistance, educational programs in the schools, and other critical programs. Justice Dickinson pointed out the tremendous achievements of the Bar Association programs, the New Hampshire legal service agencies for low-income, elderly and disabled, the domestic violence advocates, and child and family organizations. In frustration, the justices finally asked, "Then why are you even going to New Hampshire?" As it turns out, he came to tell us why "a southern judge takes pride in New Hampshire."

Justice Dickinsonís engaging speech imparted a sense of urgency, and mutual responsibility, for achieving greater access to justice for all residents, with congratulations on the work that being done here so well, every day.

A podcast of Justice Dickinsonís speech is available on the New Hampshire Bar Foundationís website, on the Press Room/Events page.

The New Hampshire Bar Foundation was founded in 1977 to "promote philanthropy dedicated to ensuring that all people in New Hampshire, especially those with limited means, are able to understand and obtain meaningful access to the justice system."

Tim Bush, right, congratulates his law partner, Charles Keefe, on receiving the 2008 Kirby Award.
Supreme Court Justice Jess H. Dickinson, and his wife Janet, traveled from Mississippi for the NH Bar Foundation's Annual Dinner.
Richard Uchida introduces 2008 Kenison Award recipient, Hon. Francis J. Frasier, to Justice Dickinson.

Susan Noon is the Program and Communications Director of the NH Bar Foundation.

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