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Bar News - December 18, 2009

Jennifer Parent Nominated President-Elect

Jennifer L. Parent
At the Dec. 3 meeting of the NHBA Board of Governors, Jennifer L. Parent, NHBA Vice President, was nominated by acclamation to run for president-elect in the NHBA Board election in March.

Under the NHBA Constitution & Bylaws, candidates for president-elect shall be nominated by the Board. Nominating petitions for all positions whose terms expire in 2010 are circulating now. See page 27 for a copy. (Current President-elect Marilyn B. McNamara automatically takes office as Bar president at the conclusion of the 2010 Annual Meeting in June.)

The Board also voted to approve the 2009 annual revisions to the NHBA Title Examination Standards. (See sidebar.) The Board received updates or reports on:

Legislation Committee. Bernard Campbell, of Beaumont & Campbell in Salem, the new chair of the Legislation Committee, outlined the schedule and process the committee follows in reviewing legislation of potential interest to the Bar. He explained how the committee very carefully chooses which bills to review and how it adheres to standards set by the Chapman and Keller decisions, governing legislative advocacy by unified bar associations.
The committee is considering altering the terminology it uses in its evaluations, to provide more guidance to lawmakers on bills where there is no position recommended to the Board for opposition or support, yet committee members believe that there are aspects of the bill that could result in unintended consequences or conflicts with other statutes. In some of those cases, the committee may indicate a "generally favorable" or "generally unfavorable" view of the bill. John MacIntosh, legislative liaison for the Bar Association, said that many legislators welcome the input of the Bar on technical legal issues of bill drafting.
• Peter Hutchins, chair of an Economic Response Task Force, reported on the group’s efforts to review what the Bar’s response should be to the difficulties faced by some or all members of the Bar, in light of the difficult economy. The task force, comprised of attorneys from many practice settings, has not completed its review, but preliminarily has concluded:
  • All sectors of practice have been affected by the economy;
  • A dues decrease of even a token amount would significantly impact services provided to members;
  • Response by the association instead should focus on providing "more bang for the buck" for members;
  • A response could perhaps address those members who at present appear to be underserved by Association services, such as rural practitioners, in-house attorneys, and those working in administrative positions, including court clerks.
Leadership Academy discussion. NHBA Vice President Jennifer Parent and former NHBA President Richard Uchida presented some initial thoughts on the creation of a "leadership academy" for newer lawyers to develop a new pool of leadership, not just for Bar Association governance, but to encourage greater leadership and professionalism in NHBA committees and sections, the NH Bar Foundation, as well as in the community at large. Uchida and Parent said they are looking at leadership development efforts of other bar associations as well as at Leadership NH and its local counterparts in NH cities such as Manchester and Concord.
Criminal Jury Instructions Task Force. Gary Apfel, long-time member of the task force, spoke with board members about the challenges of this project, which began in 1994. The group’s membership has dwindled, meetings are occurring less frequently, and recently the Judicial Branch staff member providing support to the project was withdrawn due to her assignment to other duties. Board members began discussing various options to rejuvenate this project. (View unofficial drafts of the instructions.)
Before the meeting’s start, Board members toured the Bar Center offices, learning about the organization of the Bar Association and the services it provides.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 21, 2010.

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