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Bar News - November 13, 2009

President’s Perspective: A Simple Idea


James J. Tenn, Jr.
Simple ideas often surpass the schemes of the mighty. Recently, as I read of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize and of the pending pandemic of H1N1 influenza, I was reminded of the simple idea of a Scottish research scientist, born in the last years of the nineteenth century. Working in his laboratory he noticed that a common mold had developed in a contaminated lab dish. But the significant surprise was that the staph bacteria that had been in the contaminated dish, had been killed around the mold. The inescapable conclusion was that the mold had immense medicinal benefits. Later, this mold would be called penicillin, a wonder drug. The physician’s name is Sir Alexander Fleming and he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945.

In comparison to the discovery of penicillin, other simple ideas may seem paltry, but are still valuable. I want to share with you a simple idea that is working well and has a good chance of expansion. In Hillsborough South Superior Court, a pilot project, allows attorneys to use access cards to bypass the screening lines and metal detectors – much like an E-Z pass. This pilot project has been made possible through the cooperative efforts of the New Hampshire Bar Association, court officials, and Hillsborough County Sherriff James Hardy and his staff.

The use of access cards is benefiting attorneys and the public by reducing wait times for security screening while enhancing a neutral environment at the courthouse. The New Hampshire Bar Association has received many positive comments from attorneys using the access card system. Richard McNamara, one of our past presidents recently appointed to the Superior Court, played an instrumental role in bringing the access card project to fruition during his tenure as Bar President.

The faith and willingness of Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy, who has supported this program and has permitted it to be used on a trial basis in Nashua, has made this pilot program a reality. This is a simple idea that has been put in place with a good result. While the access card program remains on a trial basis, it is important to acknowledge the efforts that went into creating it and to again invite your participation. For those attorneys who do not yet have access cards, please see instructions on Submit Your Member Photo page.

Lately, there has been much discussion of the temporary relocation of the Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District, to the Superior Court, Southern District, in Nashua. Several articles have been written for the Bar News, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s website has current information available regarding the transition. The Manchester Bar Association recently held a meeting focused on the relocation and these new changes. The architects who designed the new Hillsborough North Court were present and said their plans do provide for the continued use of access cards at the new facility.

Continued success of this simple idea, begun with the Nashua pilot program, is an essential first step for the Association’s efforts to have the system extended to Hillsborough North when reopened, and to work with other county sheriffs’ departments, asking them to consider implementation of similar systems in their jurisdictions.

I encourage you to communicate your ideas to the Bar Association. Contact an officer or your Board of Governor’s representative or one of our governors-at-large. A simple idea can make for a great result.

James J. Tenn, Jr., is the 2009-2010 NHBA President and is a founding member of Tenn And Tenn, P.A., in Manchester.

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