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Bar News - December 19, 2008

Pro Bono Reaches Milestone Anniversary as Enormous Challenges Confront Legal Services

The following pages of Bar News briefly summarize the history of the Pro Bono program through three decades of change, challenge and commitment to access to justice.

Special thanks to the Pro Bono staff, especially Ginny Martin, NHBA Associate Executive Director for Legal Services, for writing the narrative, and to Pro Bono Coordinator Carolann Wooding, for her work in combing through paper records and three different databases to compile a cumulative list of 30 years’ of Pro Bono volunteers. We are posting the 30th Anniversary Pro Bono Honor Roll, county-by-county, on a special series of pages on the web site.

We encourage you to check the list and let us know about any necessary corrections. We apologize in advance for any errors. Omissions are possible due to the vagaries of 30 years of recordkeeping. We also want to make sure that Bar members who may have moved around the state can have their service reflected in the counties in which they worked.

The NHBA’s Pro Bono Referral Program opened its doors 30 years ago to the Program’s first clients. By leveraging its funding and volunteer resources, the Program has been making a difference ever since in the lives of thousands upon thousands of disadvantaged families and individuals. Such enduring work would not be possible without the unflagging support and efforts of the NH Bar Association, Pro Bono volunteers, Board members and staff, the judicial branch and our funders.

There is much to celebrate, yet the current serious economic downturn presents Pro Bono with some of its most profound challenges since the Program’s inception. Key funding sources are shrinking –especially IOLTA – and client needs are rising rapidly as mortgage foreclosures, joblessness, and debt problems mount.

Chapter 1: Young Attorneys Create Pro Bono Program During Economic Hard Times
Chapter 2: IOLTA Funding and Bar Integration Keys to Strong Program
Chapter 3: Bumps in the Road and a New Legal Services Model
Chapter 4: Diversifying Opportunities for Attorney Participation and Client Services
Chapter 5: The Future of Pro Bono in New Hampshire

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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