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Bar News - February 18, 2011

Chief Justice, Board Confer on Innovation Plans

NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis met with the Board of Governors on Jan. 20, 2011, to provide a briefing on the public rollout of the Judicial Branch Innovation Commission recommendations. At earlier meetings, the Board had received previews on the Innovation Commission’s work, in particular the development of the Circuit Court reorganization (involving the probate and district courts and the family division), as well as the "e-court" package of proposals to use technology to make it easier for the public and lawyers to use the courts and speed case processing.

Chief Justice Dalianis said the proposals have been favorably received by the governor and legislative leaders, but that much work is ahead to secure a $5 million capital appropriation for computer and video technology, and to appeal to the legislature to spare the courts damaging cuts in operating funds, which would impair services to the public and impede the progress of innovation.

Dalianis emphasized that the commission proposals go far beyond what executive branch agencies of NH government have advanced to deal with improving service and productivity in an era of increasingly scarce government resources. She asked for the Bar’s support and for its assistance in reviewing the details of the proposals and providing input on the anticipated impacts on court users.

NHBA President Marilyn Billings McNamara, who also served on the Innovation Commission, solicited volunteers from the Board to look at particular aspects of the recommendations.

John MacIntosh, legislative liaison for the NHBA, reported on the actions of the Legislation Committee, which is meeting frequently at the beginning of the biennial session to review introduced bills of particular interest to the legal community, affecting the administration of justice. (See President McNamara’s column about the work of the Legislation Committee.)

MacIntosh said that, as usual, the Legislation Committee reviews the details of many bills to consider their ramifications, but eventually only votes to support advocacy or opposition to only a select few bills. In some cases, the Committee waits to see if a particular bill will advance further in the legislative process as a factor in whether to actively oppose a measure. (Bar members may visit the Legislation Committee page in the For Members area for an updated list of reviewed bills, including ratifications by the Board on advocacy positions, with links to the legislative website for text or upcoming hearings.

The Board also approved a resolution recognizing the special contributions of the members of the "Greatest Generation" – male and female Bar members born between 1900 and 1925 who were born and lived through two world wars, a pandemic and the Great Depression. The proclamation was read at the 2011 Midyear Meeting.

The Board also was introduced to Paula Ludlam, who joined the Bar in late December as director of finance and information technology, replacing Thomas Manter.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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