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Bar News - June 20, 2008

NH Bar Members Celebrate 50 Years of Service

The NH Bar Association will recognize 16 attorneys – those who have been members of the legal community for 50 years – as Honorary Members at this year’s annual meeting on June 20 in North Conway.

These members have witnessed significant social, technical and economic changes in the course of their lives and careers and have tailored and developed the legal profession in response to these changes. Bar News is profiling them in this issue and subsequent issues.

H. Alfred Casassa
Victor W. Dahar, Sr.
Paul F. Donovan
Henry T. Dunker, Jr.
Hon. Peter S. Espiefs
Hon. Sherman D. Horton, Jr.
Hon. H. Philip Howorth
Hon. William R. Johnson
  Lucille Kozlowski
W. Jean Laflamme
Alvin H. Miller
David L. Nixon
J. Robert O’Brien
David E. Tardif
Edward E. Williams
De Witte T. Kersh, Jr.

H. Alfred Casassa

H. Alfred Casassa

H. Alfred Casassa, born in Maine and raised in Hampton, NH, has had a career that spans the majority of possible legal positions. He worked in the public sector as an IRS Estate Tax attorney, has had a private practice in Hampton since 1960 and he was a justice on the Hampton District Court from 1972 to 1980. His career has been long and satisfying.

"It is most rewarding, both professionally and personally, to have been able to return to my hometown and practice law and be involved in the community," Casassa said.

His dream of becoming a lawyer began with an interest in government and politics from his high schools days, when he admired the role that lawyers played in the community and the state.

Casassa graduated from Boston University School of Law and joined the NH Bar Association in 1958 and went to work for the IRS as an Estate Tax Attorney, where he worked for two years before opening his private practice in Hampton, now known as Casassa & Ryan.

"I plan on continuing in the practice of law at Casassa & Ryan here in Hampton for the foreseeable future," he said, "as long as I continue in good health."

Casassa lives in Hampton with his wife Clarice Murphy Casassa. They have three children and four grandchildren. His son, Robert A. Casassa is an attorney as well and practicing in the elder Casassa’s law firm.

Paul F. Donovan

"Reaching this milestone is a humbling experience, as many of my contemporaries are no longer with us," said Paul F. Donovan of his attaining 50 years as a member of the NH Bar.

Donovan, born in Cambridge, MA and raised in Braintree, MA, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University before graduating from Columbia Law School, earning his law degree.

In 1958, after graduating from law school and joining the NH Bar, Donovan opened a private general practice in Lancaster, NH, where he worked until his retirement in 2004. In 1965, he was appointed a Special Justice to the Lancaster District Court and has served as the Jefferson Town Moderator for the past 20 years.

Donovan’s proudest achievement, he said, was his service on the Professional Conduct Committee and the Judges’ Association, which was once very active in administrative matters. He also said that his service on the bench had a large impact on him, especially his handling of juvenile cases.

"It was impressive– the impact that I could make on many lives over the years," he said. "Upon retiring, I received many letters and calls from juveniles who had appeared before me, thanking me for the assistance or guidance they had received."

Since his retirement in 2004, Donovan said he has been traveling extensively.

"Life is good," he said.

Peter S. Espiefs

Peter Espiefs

 Born in Athens, Greece in 1931, Peter S. Espiefs moved with his family to the United States in 1932, settling in Dover, NH. Growing up during the Depression, Espiefs said he decided to become a lawyer after he became aware that "there were bad things happening to decent people who needed help to reclaim their lives."

Espiefs attended Dover public schools, the University of New Hampshire and graduated from the Georgetown Law Center, after which, he joined the NH Bar and got a job with the Division of Disability Operations of the Social Security Administration.

"My first job…gave me an excellent education on disability," he said.

Espiefs started his own office in 1964 and practiced there until he was appointed to the Cheshire County Probate Court in 1979. He continued as a probate court judge until his retirement from the court in 1999.

"I’m grateful for the privilege of having practiced law in my home state," said Espiefs, who retired from law practice June 1, 2008. "[I have practiced] among some of the most capable and professional lawyers in New England."

Espiefs has been a member of the New Hampshire House since 2000, where he has served on both the Judiciary and the Ways and Means Committees. He is also a member of the Right to Know Oversight Commission and the Medical Malpractice and Insurance Oversight Committee.

His wife Electra, he says, "has survived being married to me since 1955 and we have two dear children, Catherine and Peter."

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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