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Bar News - September 17, 2010

Board: Economy & Court Budget are Prime Concerns

Attorney Bradley Cook, of the Sheehan Phinney law firm, provided pointers on non-profit governance to NHBA Board of Governors members at their Aug. 27 orientation session.
The 2010-2011 NHBA Board of Governors held its annual orientation session on Aug. 27, meeting at the Chase House, Inns at Mill Falls, in Meredith.

In addition to receiving a brief overview of the organizational structure of the Bar and its relationships to other entities in the legal community, board members also had an opportunity to discuss what they see as the major challenges ahead for the Bar Association and the legal profession in the coming year.

Going around the room, the issues most often cited by board members were:
  • The impact of the sagging economy on demand for legal services. Some members suggested that the Bar should be doing more to identify effective marketing approaches for solo and small-firm attorneys.
  • Inadequate resources for the courts. Clients and the legal process are suffering due to monthly furlough days closing the courts, limited hours for public access to court clerks, and lengthening delays in scheduling and order processing.
  • Lack of judges. The number of vacancies at the trial court level continues to mount, a problem that is exacerbated by funding constraints that severely limit the use of part-time judges to fill in the gaps. The access to justice problems, board members said, are especially acute in smaller counties where there were fewer judges to begin with.
As part of its orientation, the Board also received a briefing on non-profit governance from Bradford Cook, a Sheehan Phinney attorney with in-depth experience working with non-profits. Cook addressed myths about the status of non-profits, and provided guidelines and suggestions for attorneys to consider when serving on non-profit boards.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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