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Bar News - January 14, 2011


NH Supreme Court Orders

In accordance with the authority granted in RSA 490-D:5, the Supreme Court orders that the judicial branch family division shall be operational in Merrimack effective December 10, 2010. The district courthouse in Merrimack will become the family division site for Merrimack. The geographic jurisdiction of the family division in Merrimack shall be as set forth in RSA 490-D:4, XVI(e) to include the towns of Bedford, Litchfield, and Merrimack. Bedford-related cases pending in the Manchester Family Division pursuant to this court’s order of November 9, 2009, shall conclude at the Manchester Family Division unless justice requires the transfer of these cases to Merrimack. Such cases which need to be reopened for further judicial orders after they reach final judgment at Manchester shall be reopened and heard at the Merrimack Family Division.

Until additional family division sites are made operational by further order of this Court, the geographic jurisdiction of the Merrimack Family Division shall also include matters which are or would be filed in the Hillsborough County Superior Court, Southern District, for the city of Nashua and the towns of Brookline, Greenville, Hollis, Hudson, Mason, Milford, New Ipswich, Sharon, Temple, and Wilton.

December 9, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


The Supreme Court of New Hampshire hereby appoints Attorney Mary E. Tenn to the board of bar examiners to serve a term commencing immediately and expiring on November 1, 2013.

December 14, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 54(2), Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda S. Dalianis, with the concurrence of the court, appoints Senior Associate Superior Court Justice Kenneth R. McHugh to serve as administrative judge of the Superior Court until a new Chief Justice of the Superior Court is confirmed.

December 17, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 51 B(1)(a), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire hereby appoints Associate Justice Robert J. Lynn as a member and chair of the Advisory Committee on Rules in place of Associate Justice Carol Ann Conboy, effective January 1, 2011. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 51 B(5), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire hereby appoints Carolyn Koegler as Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Rules in place of David S. Peck, effective January 1, 2011.

December 20, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


The chief justice, pursuant to RSA 494:1, IX, reappoints Eric Herr, a public member, Teresa Robinson, a public member, and Attorney John E. Durkin, to the Judicial Council, to serve three-year terms commencing on January 1, 2011, and expiring on December 31, 2013.

The chief justice appoints Attorney Richard Y. Uchida to the Judicial Council, to serve a three-year term commencing on January 1, 2011, and expiring on December 31, 2013. Attorney Uchida is appointed to replace Attorney Ovide Lamontagne, whose term expires December 31, 2010.

December 29, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


Pursuant to Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51(A), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire adopts the following amendments to court rules.

Supreme Court Rules –
Mandatory IOLTA

1. Amend Supreme Court Rule 50, regarding trust accounts, as set forth in Appendix A.

2. Amend Supreme Court Rule 50-A, regarding certification requirement, as set forth in Appendix B.

3. Repeal the Appendix to Supreme Court Rule 50-A, as set forth in Appendix C.

Effective Date

These amendments shall take effect March 1, 2011.

Date: December 29, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox , Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire

APPENDIX A

Amend Supreme Court Rule 50 as follows (additions are in [bold and brackets]; deletions are in strike-thru format):

RULE 50. Trust Accounts

(1) Interest-Bearing [Pooled] Trust Accounts. [In addition to any individual client trust accounts, a] A member of the New Hampshire Bar [who is not exempt from this requirement pursuant to Rule 50(1)(F)] shall create or maintain an [a pooled,] interest-bearing trust account [known as "Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts program" or "IOLTA" account] for clients’ funds which are nominal in amount or to be held for a short period of time and must comply with the following provisions:

A. An interest-bearing trust account shall be established with any bank or savings and loan association authorized by federal or State law to do business in New Hampshire and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation [or other financial institution with adequate federal insurance covering client funds] ("financial institution"). Funds in each interest-bearing trust account shall be subject to withdrawal upon demand.

B. The rate of interest payable on any interest-bearing trust account shall be the same rate of interest paid by the depository institution for all other holders of similar accounts. Interest rates higher than those offered by the institution on regular checking or savings accounts may be obtained by a lawyer or law firm on some or all deposited funds so long as there is no impairment of the right to withdraw or transfer principal immediately.

C. Lawyers, law firms or others acting on their behalf when depositing clients’ funds in an [a pooled,] interest-bearing account shall direct the depository institution:

(i) to remit interest or dividends, as the case may be, at least quarterly, to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation; and

(ii) to transmit with each remittance to the Foundation a statement showing the name of the lawyer or law firm for whom the remittance is sent[, the account number(s), and rate of interest applied for the reporting period]; and

(iii) to transmit to the depositing lawyer or law firm at the same time a report showing [the account number(s), rate of interest applied for the reporting period, and] amount paid to the Foundation.

D. The interest or dividends received by the Foundation shall be used solely by the Foundation for the following purposes:

(i) for the support of civil legal services to the disadvantaged;

(ii) for public education relating to the courts and legal matters;

(iii) for such other programs as may be approved by the supreme court.

Such income shall be applied only to activities permitted to be conducted by organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as from time to time amended.

E. Attorneys, either individually or through their firm organizations, shall complete an annual Authorization to Financial Institutions [Trust Accounting Compliance Certificate] by August 1 of each year [which includes a] listing any [of all] interest-bearing trust account(s) for clients’ funds under paragraph (1)[.] and directing the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to act on behalf of the depositing lawyer or law firm to convert clients’ [Any pooled] non-interest bearing [client] trust account(s) [must be converted] to interest-bearing trust account(s) under provisions of Rule 50(1).

F. A lawyer or law firm who declines to maintain accounts described in subdivision (1)A of this rule must submit a Notice of Declination in writing to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by August 1 of any year for the period beginning such August 1 and extending until such declination is revoked.

(i) Notwithstanding the foregoing, any participating lawyer or law firm may petition the Court at any time and may be granted leave to file a Notice of Declination at a time other than that specified above. An election to decline participation may be revoked at any time by filing a request for enrollment in the program.

(ii) A lawyer or law firm that does not file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court a Notice of Declination in accordance with the provisions of this rule shall be required to maintain accounts in accordance with subdivision (1)A of this rule.

[F. A lawyer is exempt from the requirement that he or she create or maintain a pooled, interest-bearing trust account known as "Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts program" or "IOLTA" account if:

(i) the lawyer is not engaged in the private practice of law;

(ii) the lawyer is a judge, attorney general, public defender, U.S. attorney, district attorney, on duty with the armed services or employed by a local, state or federal government, and is not otherwise engaged in the private practice of law;

(iii) the lawyer is a corporate counsel or teacher of law and is not otherwise engaged in the private practice of law;

(iv) the nature of the lawyer’s practice is such that the lawyer does not hold IOLTA-eligible funds of any client or third person; or

(v) the lawyer does not have an office within the State of New Hampshire, does not have a trust account in a financial institution within the State of New Hampshire, and any trust accounts the lawyer has in a foreign jurisdiction are maintained in compliance with the rules and regulations of that jurisdiction.]

G. This rule may be subsequently amended to effectuate its purposes or to comply with any amendments to the Internal Revenue Code.

(2) Attorney’s Financial Records:

A. Every attorney shall maintain records of the handling, maintenance and disposition of all funds or securities of a client at any time in his [the attorney’s] possession from the time of receipt to the time of final distribution and shall preserve such records for a period of six (6) years after final distribution of such funds or securities or any portion thereof. Specifically, every attorney or the firm organization shall maintain a trust accounting system that shall include at the minimum, (1) a ledger or system showing all receipts and disbursements from the trust account or accounts with appropriate entries identifying the source of the receipts and the nature of the disbursement, and (2) a separate accounting page or columns for each client for whom property is held, which shall show all receipts and disbursements and carry a running account balance. Any other system that preserves the above-mentioned features and sufficiently accounts for trust funds may also be used. In addition there shall be maintained an index, or equivalent single source for identification of all trust accounts, including special [pooled] interest-bearing trust accounts, probate accounts, custodial accounts and client agency accounts.

B. All cash property of clients received by attorneys shall be deposited in one or more clearly designated trust accounts (separate from the attorney’s own funds) in financial institutions. Any attorney depositing client funds into an out-of-state financial institution shall file a written authorization with the Clerk of the Supreme Court authorizing the Court or its agents to examine and copy such out-of-state account records. Under no circumstances may any attorney use out-of-state banks other than those located in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, or the state in which the attorney’s office is situated, without obtaining prior written approval from the Supreme Court.

C. Only those retainer fees, that are refundable if not earned, and as to which the attorney has so informed the client, shall be deposited in the trust account(s) described above. These shall not be withdrawn from the account of the attorney or firm organization until earned. All other retainer fees may be deposited in the attorney’s general operating account.

D. All funds received as proceeds of collections or awards on behalf of a client shall be deposited in gross in the trust account(s) required above, and shall not be charged with a fee until distribution.

E. The practice of law in the form of a partnership or a professional association shall not relieve an attorney from the obligation of compliance with this Supreme Court Rule.

F. Each bank [financial institution] account required by Rule 50, except those accounts excluded by Rule 50-A(3), shall be reconciled by the lawyer or law firm on a monthly basis. Such reconciliation shall disclose (a) the balance of the account according to the bank’s [financial institution’s] records; (b) the balance of the account according to the lawyer or law firm’s records; (c) a detailed listing of all differences between items (a) and (b); (d) a listing of all clients’ funds in the accounts as of the reconciliation date; and (e) a detailed listing of all differences between items (b) and (d).

APPENDIX B

Amend Supreme Court Rule 50-A as follows (additions are in [bold and brackets]; deletions are in strike-thru format):

RULE 50-A. Certification Requirement

(1) In order to assure compliance with the requirements of Rule 50 and in order to ascertain that the records and accounts described in Rule 50 are properly maintained, all attorneys licensed to practice in the State of New Hampshire, whether in private practice or not, other than those in inactive status, shall individually or through their firm organizations file an annual [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance and, unless they have filed a Notice of Declination under Rule 50(1)F, Authorization to Financial Institutions on or before August 1st of each year. For purposes of this rule, an attorney shall not be considered to be "in inactive status" if the attorney’s New Hampshire Bar Association membership status was active at any time during the one-year period beginning on June 1 of the year preceding the reporting year and ending on May 31 of the reporting year. The [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance shall certify to one of three things:

A. That the attorney does not maintain a trust account and does not have in his possession [possess] any assets or funds of clients;

B. That client funds maintained by the attorney are held in accounts in full compliance with the requirements of Rule 50; or

C. That the attorney is willing to submit to a spot compliance audit to his [of the attorney’s] trust accounts at his [the attorney’s] own expense.

A prescribed [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance form will be sent to the attorney annually by the New Hampshire Bar Association with the attorney’s annual dues [and court fees] assessment[s]. The self-certification may be completed by the attorney or by a private accountant employed for this purpose by the attorney. The completed [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance forms shall be filed with the New Hampshire Supreme Court by delivery to the New Hampshire Bar Association by August 1st of each year. The self-certification procedure shall be supplemented by annual compliance checks by an accountant selected by the Supreme Court. The accountant’s purpose in conducting a compliance check will be to determine whether the minimum standards set forth in Rule 50 are being maintained. All information obtained by the accountant shall remain confidential except for purposes of transmitting notice of violations to the Professional Conduct Committee or the Supreme Court.

The information derived from such compliance checks shall not be disclosed by anyone in such a way as to violate the attorney-client privilege except by express order from the Supreme Court. The certification and authorization or declination requirements of this rule shall not apply to any full-time judge, full-time marital master, or full-time supreme, superior, and district court clerk or deputy clerk, except that the certification requirement shall apply where such judge, marital master, clerk, or deputy clerk was in the active practice of law at any time during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding August 1st of any year.

The Authorization to Financial Institutions shall be signed by an authorized signer for the accounts listed. The completed authorization shall be returned to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation by August 1 of each year.

(2) An attorney who fails to comply with the requirements of Rule 50 with respect to the maintenance, availability, and preservation of accounts and records, who fails to file the required annual [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance, or the annual Authorization to Financial Institutions or a Notice of Declination, or who fails to produce trust account records as required shall be deemed to be in violation of Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the applicable Supreme Court Rule. Unless upon petition to the Supreme Court an extension has been granted, failure to file the required annual [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance by August 1st shall, in addition, subject the attorney to one or more of the following penalties and procedures:

A. A fine of $100 for each month or fraction thereof after August 1st in which the [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance remains unfiled; in addition, an attorney who has been fined $300 or more under this section may be suspended from the practice of law in this State;

B. Audit of the attorney’s trust accounts and other financial records at the expense of the attorney, if the certificate remains unfiled on December 1st; and

C. Based upon results of the audit, initiation of proceedings for further sanctions, including suspension.

Any check, draft or money order received as payment of any fine imposed pursuant to this rule, which is returned to the court as uncollectable, shall be returned to the sender and shall not constitute payment of the fine. Whenever any check, draft or money order issued in payment of any fine imposed pursuant to this rule is returned to the court as uncollectable, the court shall charge a fee of $25, plus all protest and bank [financial institution] fees, in addition to the amount of the check, draft or money order to the person presenting the check, draft or money order to cover the costs of collection. The fine shall not be considered paid until the fine plus all fees have been paid.

Reinstatement following a suspension ordered pursuant to Rule 50-A(2)(A) above shall be only by order of the Supreme Court, upon petition to the court following the filing of the [Trust Accounting] Certificate of Compliance and payment of the fine. If the petition is filed more than one year after the date of the order suspending the person from the practice of law in this State, then the petition shall be accompanied by evidence of continuing competence and learning in the law, and evidence of continuing moral character and fitness.

If the evidence of continuing competence and learning in the law, and evidence of continuing moral character and fitness, are satisfactory to the court, the court may order reinstatement upon such conditions as it deems appropriate.

If the evidence of continuing competence and learning in the law is not satisfactory to the court, the court shall refer the motion for reinstatement to the [P]professional [C]conduct [C]committee for referral to a panel of the hearings committee. The hearing panel shall promptly schedule a hearing at which the attorney shall have the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has the competency and learning in law required for reinstatement. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing panel shall promptly file a report containing its findings and recommendations and transmit same, together with the record, to the [P]professional [C]conduct [C]committee. The [P]professional [C]conduct [C]committee shall review the report of the hearings committee panel, the record and the hearing transcript and shall file its own recommendations and findings, together with the record, with the court. Following the submission of briefs, if necessary, and oral argument, if any, the court shall enter a final order.

If the evidence of continuing moral character and fitness is not satisfactory to the court, the court shall order the applicant to file with the committee on character and fitness and with the clerk of the supreme court the petition and questionnaire referred to in Supreme Court Rule 42(5)(e). Further proceedings shall be governed by Rule 42.

(3) Except for requirements of Rule 50, subparagraph (2)A, requiring the inclusion of probate accounts in the index of trust accounts, the provisions of Rule 50, paragraph (2), and of this Rule 50-A shall not apply to probate accounts (including estate, testamentary trusts, guardian, and conservator accounts).

(4) The Supreme Court may at any time order an audit of such financial records or trust accounts of an attorney, and take such other action as it deems necessary to protect the public.

APPENDIX C

Repeal the Appendix to Supreme Court Rule 50-A.


In accordance with RSA 490-D:6, the supreme court designates the Honorable Paul D. Desjardins to serve as a family division judge. This designation shall take effect immediately.

January 3, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
New Hampshire Supreme Court


ADM-2010-0155
In the Matter of Thomas T. Aquilla, Esq.

On November 22, 2010, this court issued an order, in accordance with Rule 50-A(2), requiring Thomas T. Aquilla to file his 2010 trust accounting certificate and to pay $300 in late fees assessed for failing to file the certificate, or be suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire. Attorney Aquilla has neither responded to the order, nor brought himself into compliance with Supreme Court Rule 50-A(2).

Accordingly, Thomas T. Aquilla is hereby suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire. The court hereby requires that Attorney Aquilla’s trust accounts and other financial records be audited at his expense.

Attorney Aquilla is ordered to notify his clients in writing that he has been suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire, and to notify the Attorney Discipline Office by Monday, February 7, 2011, that he has completed this task. On or before Thursday, February 17, 2011, the Attorney Discipline Office shall advise the court if it believes that an attorney should be appointed to make an inventory of Attorney Aquilla’s files and to take action to protect the interests of Attorney Aquilla’s clients.

Dalianis, C.J., and, Duggan, Hicks, Conboy and Lynn, JJ., concurred.
DATE: January 6, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


ADM-2010-0157
 
In the Matter of Andrew G. Bronson, Esq.

On November 22, 2010, this court issued an order, in accordance with Rule 50-A(2), requiring Andrew G. Bronson to file his 2010 trust accounting certificate and pay the $300 in late fees assessed for failing to file the certificate, or be suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire. Attorney Bronson has neither responded to the order, nor brought himself into compliance with Supreme Court Rule 50-A(2).

Accordingly, Andrew G. Bronson is hereby suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire. The court hereby requires that Attorney Bronson’s trust accounts and other financial records be audited at his expense.

Attorney Bronson is ordered to notify his clients in writing that he has been suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire and to notify the Attorney Discipline Office by Monday, February 7, 2011, that he has completed this task. On or before Thursday, February 17, 2011, the Attorney Discipline Office shall advise the court if it believes that an attorney should be appointed to make an inventory of Attorney Bronson’s files and to take action to protect the interests of his clients.

Dalianis, C.J., and, Duggan, Hicks, Conboy and Lynn, JJ., concurred.
DATE: January 6, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


ADM-2010-0067
In the Matter of Kyung-hee Kim

The court on January 4, 2011, issued the following order:

On September 27, 2010, Kyung-Hee Kim was suspended from the practice of law in accordance with Rule 42A. The court has been notified by the New Hampshire Bar Association that Ms. Kim has paid her past and current dues and court fees. Accordingly, Ms. Kim is reinstated to the practice of law, effective immediately.

Dalianis, C.J., and Duggan, and Hicks, JJ., concurred.
Eileen Fox, Clerk


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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