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Bar News - August 14, 2009

Marilyn McNamara Leaves LARC

After eight years as executive director of the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC), Marilyn B. McNamara is leaving to join Upton & Hatfield in Concord. Connie Rakowski, a former board member at LARC, is now its interim executive director.

McNamara, who was in private practice before becoming executive director, says she is excited at the prospect of returning to the courtroom. "I practiced family law for many years, often appearing in court – and I’ve missed that. Besides, I want to refresh those courtroom skills."

A small legal services program at its inception, LARC has remained small, but each member of the staff has honed those skills needed for dealing with people in need of legal services, but unable to pay for them. "Our chief contribution," said McNamara, "is plain old really, really good telephone advice and counsel."

The staff is particularly knowledgeable in family law, housing issues, and some consumer and bankruptcy law matters. Since LARC is first and foremost a telephone service, it needs staff people not only with knowledge in these areas, but also with good communication skills, a lot of patience—and big hearts.

"During my time at LARC, funding has increased, but it hasn’t kept pace with the cost of doing business," said McNamara. "Nevertheless, we’ve increased our footprint in the community with our superb phone service – and with a website offering help in many areas over and beyond the usual. Yes, we still connect people with lawyers – or help them learn how to represent themselves – but we offer a lot more, too."

Editor’s note: The September issue of Bar News will feature a more detailed, in-depth profile of Marilyn McNamara, her work at LARC, and her plans for the future.

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