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Bar News - February 13, 2009

LRS to Create Experience Panels for Certain Practice Areas

The NHBA Board of Governors, at its Jan. 22 meeting, approved a new concept for the Lawyer Referral Service – establishing "experience panels" for selected practice areas. The Board acted on a recommendation by the Delivery of Legal Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Lawyer Referral Service, presented at the meeting by Brad Kuster, sub-committee chair, and Mark Rouvalis, chair of the full committee.

Kuster said that after more than a year of study and discussion, the Committee was asking the Board to approve the creation of experience panels for Lawyer Referral Service matters, initially in the areas of medical malpractice and felony cases. More details will be reported once the Lawyer Referral Service completes a revised application. (To read the report, including the standards and the process undertaken to develop them, go to the Board of Governors Jan. 22 meeting materials tab in the Committees area of For Members.)

Kuster said the standards were being considered for several reasons, two of which are:

- to provide that LRS clients are referred to panel members with the basic minimum experience necessary, and

- in a marketplace flooded with options, to help LRS better distinguish itself from the competition by implementing these criteria and eventually earning the ability for LRS to utilize the logo and slogan marketed by the ABA, "The Right Call for the Right Lawyer."

Kuster said that there was a lot of interchange between committee members drafting the new experience panels and existing members of LRS to strike the right balance. The provisions for the new LRS application will also include a waiver provision that would allow a member of the LRS panel to demonstrate "a substantially equivalent level of training or experience."

The Board also listened to a report on Phase I of the Strategic Planning & Operations Task Force by Jennifer Parent, Task Force Chair. This summer, the task force was convened to work on helping to "prioritize the Association’s goals and programming, to provide better information for the budget process and to support long-term strategic planning" for the NHBA. Parent said that Phase I focused on setting forth prioritization for the upcoming fiscal year, given the extraordinary challenges of a difficult economy. The Board will consider the task force input as it makes decisions for the upcoming Association fiscal year.

The Task Force report also can be found in the Board of Governors' materials for the Jan. 22 meeting.

Phase 2 of the group’s work will take a more long-term, strategic look at the organization’s operations.

Other actions and items from the meeting:

- Discussion of the involvement of the Bar as a sponsor in a joint project to develop "A Vision of ADR in NH" involving other elements of the mediation community in NH.

- Appointment of Kevin Collimore as chair, and Thomas Quarles as vice-chair of the NH Supreme Court Public Protection Committee, succeeding David Jordan, who has served as chair of the PPF since its inception in 1998 under Supreme Court Rule 55.

- Review of several bills introduced in the NH Legislature of interest to the legal community. The Board ratified positions taken by the Legislation Committee. See Newsroom at for Legislation Committee updates.

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