At its March 19 meeting, the NHBA Board of Governors authorized the officers of the NHBA to enter into a mortgage agreement with Citizens Bank to acquire the currently leased office and seminar space it occupies at 2 Pillsbury Street, Concord.
The agreement, outlined in materials provided to the board at its February meeting, was initially approved by an e-mail vote on Feb. 26 and officially included in the March 19 minutes. The mortgage, in final negotiations, exercises a purchase option obtained when the Bar agreed to lease space at 2 Pillsbury Street. With the purchase, the Bar Association will avoid increases in its occupancy costs scheduled in the lease. Due to the favorable option price negotiated when the Bar became one of the first tenants for the building and the current low-interest-rate conditions, the Bar will be able to pay the mortgage, without having to mount a capital campaign, at a significant annual savings over the lease.
On other matters, the Board:
• Reviewed and approved recommendations of the NHBA Legislation Committee on advocacy positions on selected bills pending in the legislature. See the Legislation Chart for details on the eight bills on which the Board voted for advocacy positions, under the limits on Bar legislative advocacy set forth in the NH Supreme Court’s Chapman decision and the US Supreme Court’s Keller opinion.
• Appointed attorney Claudia Damon to the Legal Advice & Referral Center board for two year term, ending in 2011.
• Received a progress report on preparation of the 2009-2010 budget as well as the current state of NHBA finances.
• Discussed the current state of state budget deliberations and the role of various entities involved in the justice system to advocate for adequate resources. A legislative reception, held jointly with the NH Association for Justice, will provide an opportunity for Bar Association officers and members of the Legislation Committee to meet informally with lawmakers. Also, it was reported that a letter from the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts on this issue is being drafted. (See page 4 for more on NHBA efforts to provide information regarding adequacy of resources for the justice system.)
• Endorsed a resolution of Employer Support for the National Guard and Reserve.
• Approved a letter, signed by NHBA President Ellen Arnold and NH Pro Bono Referral Chair John Norton, encouraging our US Senators Gregg and Shaheen to approve an amendment to the economic stimulus package that provides for $30 million in funding to state and local legal assistance organizations to represent homeowners and tenants affected by foreclosure proceedings.