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Bar News - June 12, 2009

NH Supreme Court Society Welcomes Input for Current Projects

The Supreme Court Society had its beginnings in 2005 with an effort to celebrate one of the greatest judges in the history of the New Hampshire judiciary – Chief Justice Frank Rowe Kenison – by placing a portrait of Kenison in the front hall of the NH Supreme Court building. The campaign to raise funds for the portrait drew an enthusiastic response, principally from the NH legal community, and more money was raised than was needed.

NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John T. Broderick, who had asked a small group of NH attorneys, including Mary Susan Leahy of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton in Portsmouth, to lead the portrait effort, suggested that the remainder of the funds be used to start an organization to celebrate the accomplishments and outstanding figures of the state’s highest court—and also promote the importance of an effective and independent judiciary.

According to Jay Surdukowski, an attorney with Sulloway & Hollis in Concord and chair of the membership committee, there are several ongoing projects, which the Society is shepherding. They are:

The Oral History Project

The NH Supreme Court Law Librarian Mary Searles and assistant Greg Smith are spearheading an oral history project. The project has two goals: 1) partnership with the NH Bar Foundation to revive the storied oral history efforts of past decades; and 2) sharing the histories that already exist, through screenings or by dissemination on YouTube and the Society’s website.

If you have an interest in helping with this project, contact Surdukowski at the address below. He will put you in touch with Mary and Greg.

If you have any special video or oral history know-how or access to equipment, your participation would be especially welcome!

Virtual Library

The Society wants your materials for the "Virtual Library" which is part of the new website. See below for the categories so far, but it really is your library to shape. Please send old photos, articles you have written, or links you think would be of interest to the bench, bar, and beyond. A really exciting feature of the library will be ten-minute excerpts from some of the oral histories.

If you have old photos or documents you think should be featured but are not sure how to scan them in, we will happy to help you do so. Virtual Library categories so far:
Lives of Justices
Landmark Cases
Remembrances and Memoirs
Photo Gallery
Links of Interest
We welcome your suggestions for new categories.


There are several small exhibitions in the works - if you have an interest or talent in this area we will link you up with the people working on these projects.

Bringing Justices Back to Life

After the recent revival of interest in Chief Justices Doe (the recently recovered Doe Library) and Peaslee (doodles and caricatures of court personnel), the Society is considering bringing the portraits at the NH Supreme Court to life. This project is still in its early stages but will possibly consist of biographical research culminating in short paragraphs that would be hung below each portrait and/or for inclusion in a pamphlet guide.

Check the website at for updates on the Judicial Curriculum Project, the upcoming King Lecture and the Life & Liberty Award, and other special events. Please don’t hesitate to contact Jay Surdukowski or Mary Susan Leahy with any questions or suggestions.

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