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Bar News - May 23, 2008

Trial Courts to Require NHBA Member Number on Filings


Effective June 1, Bar members will be required to include their Bar member identification number on appearances and other filings in the state trial courts, including the Superior, District, and Probate Courts, and the Family Division.

Lawyers who practice in the New Hampshire state courts know that the judicial branch is undergoing a change in its computer system. Letters and forms from some courts look vastly different than letters and forms from other courts. This is because some courts still have the older computer system. However, many District Courts and Family Division locations have transitioned to the new Odyssey case management system, with more conversions underway each month. The Superior Court and Probate Court will also be converting to the new case management system in the very near future.

One advantage of the software in the Odyssey case management system is an "auto-populate" feature that can be utilized by the insertion of a lawyer’s NH Bar member ID number. When an Appearance is filed, or upon the filing of any pleading that initiates a case, court staff need only insert the lawyer’s Bar Association member number. The Odyssey system can automatically insert the address on file with the NH Bar Association. This increases efficiency as well as accuracy. While there will be exceptions to the utilization of this feature, in broad terms the bar member ID number allows the courts to consistently access an associated address without additional labor each time a lawyer files an appearance or initiates a court action.

To take full advantage of this feature, the trial courts’ rules, as of June 1, will require lawyers to include their NH Bar member ID number on all Appearances and on all pleadings that initiate actions: District (rule 1.3), Family Division (rule 1.24), Superior (rule 15), and Probate (rules 14 and 15), adopted on a temporary basis. The New Hampshire Supreme Court anticipates making similar changes to its rules in the coming months.

Court Appearance forms recently have been modified to require this information. In addition, since many attorneys use their own office Appearance forms, lawyers are reminded that such forms must be modified for the consistent inclusion of this information.

Gina Apicelli is an administrator in the Family Division. This article was written on behalf of the NH Judicial Branch.

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