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Bar News - July 4, 2008

Making a Difference: Attorneys Give Back

The Many Ways Attorneys Contribute

NHBA President Eleanor Wm. Dahar recognized Rule 170 volunteers and solo and small firm attorneys at the Midyear Meeting 2008.
In this Giving Back 2007-2008 supplement, Bar News highlights some of the ways NH Bar members give back to their profession, to the communities in which they live and work – and to the international community. It is impossible to tell all their stories – even the ones we know about would take much more space than we have.

As for the ones we never hear about, let us just say that the good they do does not go unrecognized in their communities and we thank them for their efforts. Wherever a lawyer or judge quietly, sometimes anonymously, contributes his or her time and expertise to the betterment of humanity, the cause of justice is enhanced.

For this supplement, Bar News has drawn from the issues for the past year to present a very brief look at some of the things you do every day to make the world a better place. We are giving website references so that you can read the "rest of the story" or look at a whole list of those involved in certain projects when we may have space for only a mention of that list.

We are including here some of the awards given over the past year, as well as offering our special thanks to:

• those helping with pro bono cases and causes;

• those giving time to LawLine;

• those volunteering for Law Related Education programs;

• those involved in international rule-of-law efforts;

• those serving in the military.

For anyone that we have overlooked, we beg your pardon. Please know that your contribution is very much appreciated.

For a list of attorneys who have generously volunteeered their time and expertise, please visit our 2007 - 2008 Giving Back page.

On the International Front...

Maurice Geiger sitting on the floor of the National Prison in Haiti talking to a 19-year-old man with TB. (See Bar News Oct. 19, 2007 for entire story.) "No one ever comes to visit him. He has been here for three years and has yet to see a judge...There is really no case against him, but he has no money and no lawyer, so he sits waiting to die." This young man has since passed away….

Geiger received the International Lawyer of the Year Award for 2008. Read the related Bar News article.

Swift Working Attorneys for Tenants: Pro Bono’s Eviction Defense Project

Those pictured are the Boynton, Waldron & Doleac attorneys participating in the Pro Bono SWAT Team Project. From left to right: back row--attorneys Heather Dunion Neville, Amy Mackin, Christine Casa; front row--attorneys Philip Pettis and Josh Scott. Those not pictured but also in attendance at the training include attorneys Elizabeth Murphy, Devine, Millimet; Mikaela Sturrock, Devine, Millimet; and J. Patrick Dulaney, Exeter, NH. Read the related Bar News article.

Recognition at the Midyear Meeting

Distinguished Service to the Community Award

NHBA President Eleanor Dahar this year presented the 2008 Distinguished Service to the Public Award to the hundreds of attorneys who, for the last 15 years, have volunteered two, three, four or more days a year to serve as mediators or neutral evaluators of civil cases in the Superior Court.

The Rule 170 program became operational in 1992 as an attempt to stem the rising tide of cases and the growing backlogs of cases in the Superior Courts….

As many as 300 attorneys were certified to serve and many of these attorneys – some of the most experienced in the state – would devote three, four or more work-days each year to serving as mediators or neutral evaluators. Most of the time their clients are astonished to find out that the attorney-mediators who have been working so hard to help them resolve their cases have been donating their time.

Vickie Bunnell Award for Community Service

The award for community service, limited in eligibility to attorneys from firms of five attorneys or less, is named for the late Vickie Bunnell, one of four North Country residents who died in an August 1997 shooting spree.

Dahar decided that instead of recognizing a single individual this year, the Bunnell award should be presented to all of the solo and small-firm attorneys in the state. Solo and small-firm attorneys are the backbone of the association – nearly 1,800 attorneys practice in that setting in the state, accounting for about 55 percent of the total active-status membership. A recent poll of that segment of the Bar found:

• Nearly 75 percent have lived in the same community where they live now for 10 years or more;

• 70 percent participate in nonprofit governance or fundraising;

• 41 percent are involved in youth volunteering, including sports, or school-related activities as a coach or official, or in the PTO;

• 39 percent work with social services programs or groups such as fraternal organizations, soup kitchens, or other hands-on volunteering to help low-income or other vulnerable groups;

• 37 percent play a role in their town or city or state government, such as moderator, selectman, zoning board member or as a state legislator.

The excerpts above are from a Bar News article by Dan Wise. Read the article in its entirety.

Wadleigh, Starr & Peters stepped up at the 11th hour to host the Nov. 12, 2007 LawLine and fielded 50 calls. Pictured from left to right: Charles F. Cleary, Stephen J. Judge, and Kathy Sullivan; in back, Stephen L. Boyd and Gregory M. Sargent. Other attorneys who participated were: Michael R. Mortimer and Donald J. Perreault.

LawLine, a volunteer effort by attorneys throughout the state to answer questions from the public once a month by phone, depends on attorneys "stepping up to the plate" even in the most difficult circumstances.

2008 was a tough winter and the Feb. 13 LawLine, hosted by Baker and Hayes in Lebanon (a new host), took place during a massive snowstorm. Those who participated were Nancy Tierney and Kevin Carr. There were some power outages because of the storm, but Kevin stayed by even though the power was out at his own home.

The Mar. 12 LawLine was hosted by Tower, Crocker &  Mullins in Jaffrey. However, three of the attorneys who volunteered were sick and so Jeffrey Crocker took the calls all by himself, with the assistance of receptionist Allison Heywood.

 Host Firms from June 2007- May 2008
June– Nelson, Kinder, Mosseau & Saturley PC
July– Cooper, Deans & Cargill
and the Sisti Law Office
August– Wescott, Millham & Dyer
September– Crisp, Barrett, Hebert & Uchida
October– McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton PA
November – Wadleigh, Starr & Peters
December– Cooper, Deans & Cargill
January– Stebbins, Bradley, Harvey, Miller & Brooks
February– Baker & Hayes
March– Tower, Crocker & Mullins
April– Wensley & Jones
May– Nixon Peabody

Pro Bono

A Pro Bono Champ   Pro Bono Marathon
Attorney Carol Kunz has taken 30 Pro Bono cases since the year 2000. Some of these were DOVE (Domestic Violence Emergency) cases. She is an advocate for battered women and trains both Pro Bono attorneys and Crisis Center volunteers.   Pro Bono marathons, at which volunteer attorneys solicit help from fellow attorneys for Pro Bono clients, are held periodically. Pictured at one of these marathons is Jaye Rancourt, chair of the New Lawyer’s Committee. She is an attorney at Brennan, Caron, Lenehan & Iacopino.
Annual Quid Pro Bono Golf Tournament

Each year attorneys enjoy a day of golf and fellowship in support of legal services for the underprivileged. This year, the tournament will be held on August 14 at the Lake Sunapee Country Club. In 2007, the event raised $14,454 for the NHBA Pro Bono program.
Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)
The LITC helps low-to-moderate income taxpayers with federal tax controversies under $50,000. Pictured at LITC training (left to right): Back: Attorney Joceline Champagne, Pro Bono LITC Coordinator; Virginia Martin, Pro Bono LITC Director/Associate Executive Director for Legal Services, NHBA; Pro Bono LITC volunteer attorneys John Zaremba, Jeffrey Goodrich, Beth Fowler, William Boesch, Craig Standish, Wayne Croteau, LARC LITC Project Manager; Steven Pippenger, Pro Bono LITC Law Student Intern. Front: Attorney Marilyn McNamara- Executive Director, LARC; Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate.

NHLA attorney Sarah Mattson helps students with a Law Day exercise at Penacook Elementary School.
Timberlane students Zack Bishop and Kody Bonnanno with "Leapholes" quilt, depicting events from the book.
Law Related Education

Law Related Education programs include: "We The People..." which embraces "We The People and the Constitution" and Project Citizen; "A Lawyer and Judge In Every School" (ALIES – Law Day); and this year a pilot project, "Leapholes" which was an interactive learning experience for middle school students based on the book by James Grippando. The book takes students on a trip through history to witness famous civil rights cases.

Law Related Education initiatives are supported in part by IOLTA grants from the NH Bar Foundation and by the Center for Civic Education.

Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court John T. Broderick visits high school students at Merrimack Valley High School in honor of Law Day.

Attorney Martin Honigberg, center, questions students from Nashua High School North during the "We the People" District Competition on Dec. 14 at the Legislative Office Building in Concord. Honigberg represented NH as a judge at the national finals in Washington, DC this year.


Attorney J.E. Fender of Portsmouth on an eight months’ detail as U.S. Army Judge Advocate within the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate for Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I SJA). He is pictured here with General Petraeus. From Fender’s article in Bar News, May 23, 2008: "I have hope that something good for civilization as we cherish it will flourish here, nurtured by the blood and treasure we have lavished on this ancient land."

Maurice Geiger receives the Daniel Webster International Lawyer of the Year Award for 2008. He is pictured with attorney Susan Goff and Ambassador George Bruno.

Michael Th. Johnson, at present working with the attorney general of Afghanistan, stands with a security officer outside the AG’s office in Kabul.

Rule of Law Champions

"Advancing the rule of law is our best strategy to advance human development in a dangerous world."

– William Neukom, ABA President

Many lawyers from New Hampshire are heeding that call, providing their energy, expertise and judgment in helping people in other nations to strengthen their legal and governmental systems, and learning from their foreign counterparts too.

To complement our Bar News coverage, and to observe Law Day this year, the Association created a new segment of the NHBA website, International Rule of Law – NH Bar Members Across the Globe.

Some of the Bar members featured were:

Former Ambassador George Bruno, who founded and was the first chair of the NH Bar’s International Law Section, is an international consultant and immigration lawyer. He has brought many foreign delegations to NH.

J.E. Fender, a civilian lawyer who works for the US Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, is on a volunteer assignment to the Multinational Force in Iraq and is working in Baghdad. He wrote about the experience in the May 23 issue of Bar News.

Maurice D. Geiger, of North Conway, has spent much of his career focused on rural justice reform issues in the United States, and, in recent years, Haiti and Bangladesh.

Hon. Joseph Nadeau recently retired from the NH Supreme Court to concentrate on international rule of law projects. He recently spent several months in Indonesia, training judges there.

Michael Th. Johnson has been working in international law and justice positions full-time for more than 11 years. He is now in Kabul, as the US Department of State’s Senior Legal Advisor to the Attorney General of Afghanistan.

The Bar News also regularly covers the activities of the Vologda-NH Rule of Law Consortium. (See page 3 of the July 4, 2008 issue of Bar News.)

A Variety of Giving

A Pot Pourri...Featured on this section is a pot pourri of awards and activities attorneys have been a part of during the 2007-2008 Bar year. Bar News knows those mentioned here are but a few of the many, many who have been recognized by their communities for their untiring efforts on behalf of New Hampshire’s citizens. To all of you we say thanks for representing the legal profession at its best.

And to those who are just as involved but are never formally recognized, thank you for making lawyers respected and admired wherever you live and work….

Helping the Disabled

The New England Handicap Sports Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the disabled participate in recreational activities, hosted its Annual Corporate Ski Challenge on March 8. Pictured: Andrew Weaver, Atty. Stephen Connick, the Hon. Paul Moore and the Hon. Mark Weaver.
Red Sox Ticket Raffle
Attorneys at Portsmouth law firm, Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy & Lown, auctioned off four box seats for game two of the 2007 World Series. Proceeds went to The Birchtree Center, a Portsmouth-based organization composed of special educators, therapists, and behavior analysts that works with autistic students.
Pullman Car Gift
Devine Millimet Singing Attorneys

Above: Devine Millimet’s "Sing Your Heart Out" organizers present a check to Rosie Cronin, Corporate Events Coordinator for the American Heart Association. From left to right, Attorney’s Harper Marshall, Angela Martin, Donald "Lee" Smith, Stephanie Zywien, Jonathan Shirley, Brendan Mitchell, and Alex Walker, President of the firm. Front: Rosie Cronin.

Above: Manchester attorney David Woodbury spent twelve years restoring a dilapidated 1907 Pullman Car, partly because of a love of history and partly because he likes a challenge. Last month Woodbury donated the passenger train car to the Contoocook Riverway Association, a nonprofit group that works to preserve historic sites and items around the Contoocook River.
L. Jonathan Ross Award
Katherine Stearns, winner of the 2008 L. Jonathan Ross Award for Outstanding Legal Services to the Poor. Stearns is a solo practitioner in New London and has been a member of the NH Bar since 1994.

The Hon. John Maher, ret. Probate Court judge, was recognized by CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for his considerable service to New Hampshire families and children.

Paul Moore of Bedford received the "Spirit of New Hampshire" Award from Volunteer NH! for his commitment to the disabled, to veterans, and to servicemen and women, as well as for his pro bono work on behalf of a number of churches serving the greater Nashua area.

The Hon. Willard Martin, Jr. (ret.) received the Citizen Leadership Award from the Laconia District Court and the Ossipee Family Court, for being "an unsung hero in working to improve the lives of children and families in his community." 

John E. Tobin, Jr. received the Exemplary Public Service Award from Cornell University Law School for his service to low-income clients and the working poor. The award is given to extraordinary alumni for their commitment to the highest standards of public service.  
Robert Dastin, a partner at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green in Manchester, was recently awarded the Governor Wentworth Achievement Award by the National Guard Association of New Hampshire.
R. James Steiner, Couser Steiner Pellerin in Concord, received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver award, the highest state-level scouting award for volunteers, for his "hard work, self sacrifice, dedication and many years of service." 

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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