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Bar News - June 12, 2009

Annual Meeting Awards

Paul Semple, 1st NH Defender, Chosen For Distinguished Service Award

Paul Semple
Paul C. Semple, who is retiring from law practice this month, will be presented with the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession and Public at the 2009 Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 27 at the Mount Washington Resort.

Semple came to NH in 1972 to serve as the public defender in a pilot project for indigent criminal defense in Merrimack County overseen by NH Legal Assistance. Later, the program was spun off into an independent organization, and Semple became president of the organization, a role he has held ever since he left the Public Defender in 1984 to enter private practice.

Semple practiced in Concord at the law firm of McSwiney, Jones & Semple, which today is known as McSwiney & Semple. The award to be presented says Semple is recognized for "leadership [that] has been instrumental in creating a nationally recognized law firm bringing the promise of Gideon to New Hampshire’s citizens and justice system."

The Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public is an award that is rarely presented.

George Bruno, who was director of NH Legal Assistance, hired Semple. In an unpublished history of the NHLA, Bruno said "Paul’s combination of professionalism and calming personality provided early acceptance of the pilot program."

In retirement, Semple will live on Cape Cod.

Look for more coverage of Semple’s retirement, and the early days of the NH Public Defender, in the next issue of Bar News.

Master Pamela D. Kelly to Receive Grimes Judicial Award

Pamela D. Kelly
Hon. Pamela D. Kelly, a marital master in the Superior Court and then the Family Division since its start as a pilot project, is the 2009 recipient of the Justice William A. Grimes Award for Judicial Professionalism.

Master Kelly, who retired from the bench in the fall of 2008, was a master for 20 years, serving most of that time in Rockingham County. She helped with the implementation of the Family Division as a pilot project in that county, and served the profession in many ways, including serving as a panelist on numerous CLE’s on domestic relations issues and in Pro Bono training programs.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Linda S. Dalianis, who served as a master before becoming a trial judge and oversaw the creation and statewide expansion of the Family Division, lauded Kelly when informed of her award.

"Master Kelly is one of the rocks upon whom the Family Division has been built," Dalianis commented. "She--along with her fellow marital masters--has for very many years done the most difficult job in the judicial branch, with excellence and without complaint. The citizens of New Hampshire owe her a huge debt of gratitude."

District and Family Division Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly also praised her selection:

"Pam Kelly had a well-deserved reputation as a straight-forward, no-nonsense, hard-working jurist. At the same time, those who appeared before her knew they had her undivided attention and that she would be guided by the law and her concern to do what was best for the family. That combination of legal expertise, along with a keen understanding of the human condition and a firm respect for family relationships made her impact on her judicial colleagues and those she came into contact with her in the courtroom great and far-reaching."

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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