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Bar News - November 19, 2010

The Marilla Ricker Award: Marital Master Rein Honored

Named in honor of Marilla M. Ricker, the first woman to apply for admission to the NH Bar, the Ricker Award honors outstanding women lawyers in New Hampshire who have achieved professional excellence, who have paved the way to success for other women lawyers, and advanced opportunities for women in the profession.

The award was presented this year at the NHWBA Annual Fall Reception on Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Centennial Inn in Concord and recognized the achievements of Marital Master Deborah K. Rein. She was nominated for the award by Judge Kathleen A. McGuire (Ret.), former presiding justice at Merrimack County Superior Court and Kathleen A. McDonald, former marital deputy clerk at Merrimack County Superior (now at Hillsborough North). In their nomination, they cited several of Master Reinís contributions to the justice system of New Hampshire:

"Over the last 22 years, she has excelled in adjudicating thousands of family law cases. Presiding over arguably the most difficult and demanding cases in the court system, Deborah has exhibited strong intellectual capacity, professionalism, integrity, compassion and an ability to hear and understand all of the individuals who appear before her. Off the bench, she has dedicated herself to improving the process by which family cases are resolved."

The nomination also mentioned Reinís tenure as an adjunct professor at Pierce Law center (now the UNH School of Law) and her founding of the Guardian ad litem Clinical program. The program teaches law students how to advocate for children in cases where parenting and visitation are contested. She also founded the NH Childrenís Trust Fund, which provides grants for childrenís welfare programs and she has served as president of the NH Task force on Child Abuse and Neglect.

The nomination continues: "Deborah has been actively involved in educational programs for lawyers, judges, social workers, mediators, guardians ad litem and others involved with family law."

Rein was recently appointed by the NH Supreme Court to chair the Family Law Subcommittee of the Access to Justice Commission.

One of her greatest contributions was the "early and unflagging advocacy for, and implementation of, mediation as a vital component of the family law system." She was a founding member of the Marital Mediation Certification Board and now serves as a board member. She helped to implement the "first marital mediation program in New Hampshire at the Merrimack County Superior Court."

Master Rein has also been an enthusiastic participant in the NH Supreme Courtís Rule of Law Project for several years and has gone to Vologda, Russia three times, where she has presented programs on domestic violence to judges, lawyers, social workers and police officers.

McGuire and McDonald concluded by stating that they had worked closely with Master Rein on a daily basis for many years and thought it important emphasize her humanity. The nomination concluded with the statement: "Her selflessness, generosity of spirit and many kindnesses are well-known to court staff, law clerks, bailiffs and her colleagues on the bench."

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