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Bar News - June 18, 2010

Board Approves Leadership Academy for Attorneys

At its May 20, 2010 meeting, the NHBA Board of Governors reviewed and approved a detailed proposal to launch a Leadership Academy this fall.

The program, championed by NHBA Vice President Jennifer Parent and former President Richard Uchida, aims to identify and enhance the leadership skills of future Bar leaders and to help the participants broaden their knowledge of New Hampshire, and enhance their sense of professionalism.

Parent and Uchida said the program would involve 15 to 20 participants chosen for a year-long program. Following an opening retreat of a day to day-and-a-half in the early fall, the participants would meet five to six times for three-to-four hours from November to May to address specific topics. All participants would select a follow-up project to be completed over the following two years. (More details on this project in upcoming issues of Bar News. The task force hopes to start the Leadership Academy this fall.)

The Board also approved the Association budget for the 2010-11 year. The budget implements the last installment of a series of $5 annual dues increases to facilitate the purchase of the Bar Center. In a related development, the Supreme Court granted the Bar Associationís request to suspend the client indemnity portion of the Public Protection Fund and again suspend the $5 NHMCLE filing fee for 2010-2011. The court also reduced the Lawyers Assistance program fee. Thus, the net impact on mandatory costs to practice this year is a decrease of $15 for active-status categories. (See chart on the website for more information.)

The budget absorbs cost increases in employee health insurance and provides resources for additional programming, including the Leadership Academy and funding for a video-conferencing pilot to enhance participation in committee and section activities by members in remote areas. The budget also restores to full-time the funding for the Barís Law Related Education coordinator, reflecting the reality of the Barís commitment to this public service programming. (Details on the budget will be provided in the July issue of Bar News, when a date for a budget information session will be announced.)

Criminal Jury Instructions Task Force

The Board approved a recommendation by the Task Force to fund a part-time reporter to assist it with completing its work. At a meeting earlier this spring, the Task Force discussed its work to date, and the pace of progress in completing its work. The Task Force is planning an all-day retreat to review and organize the Instructions completed so far. The reporter will take the results from the retreat and make the necessary edits based on the task forceís decisions. Three additional members, including a new chair, need to be appointed to help the task force complete the initial project. (A draft version of a number of instructions is posted on the Barís website under Legal Links, or you may enter "Criminal Jury Instructions" in the search box.)

New Lawyers Committee activities

Kelleigh Domaingue Murphy, a member of the New Lawyers Committee, briefed the board on two upcoming developments. The committee is mounting a morningís worth of programming at the 2010 Annual Meeting, including a social media demonstration and discussion, which would include a review of how to use social media to gather evidence, and ethical considerations. A one-hour video replay of a Midyear Meeting ethics program in a game show format will provide participants with NHMCLE credits. Following a networking luncheon, Annual Meeting attendees, either hotel guests or those who come up for the day, will be invited to play in a volleyball tournament.

The New Lawyers are also in the midst of planning an inaugural "Battle of the Bands" for lawyers in bands. The event will take place in Manchester in the fall, and five or six bands have already expressed an interest in playing, Murphy said. (More details will be posted in the e-Bulletin and in Bar News).

Court Security/ID Access Project

The Board was updated on the progress of discussion with vendors on the potential statewide expansion of the Security Pilot Project started in cooperation with the Hillsborough County Sheriff. That project, which has enabled attorneys to go through an expedited screening process in the superior court in Nashua has been judged a success by the Sheriff in treating officers of the court equally, increasing security, and reducing wait-times at the courthouse entrances.

The Barís staff is also working with the Administrative Office of the Courts to explore the possibility of using an ID card (without an electronic card reader) that would allow attorneys to access district and family courts for identification as an attorney and expedited screening at any courthouse that participates in the project.

Further Actions

By consent, the Board approved the signing by NHBA President Tenn of a letter expressing support for increased funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the major funding source for the Legal Advice & Referral Center. The letter, also signed by other state bar presidents, seeks at least $435 million for LSC, the amount sought last year and $15 million more than was actually appropriated last year. The letter also asks Congress to engage in a bipartisan effort to formally reauthorize LSC.

Also, the Board approved the participation of the NHBA in an amicus brief filed by the New York State Bar Association to contest the FTCís interpretation that attorneys are required to comply with the so-called Red Flag Rule regarding identity protection for their clients. The barsí position is that the current regulation of attorneys provides greater protection than the new lawís provisions and the new law is therefore unnecessary. (On June 1, the FTC disclosed that it was again deferring enforcement of the rule until at least Dec. 31, 2010.)

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