Bar News - April 15, 2011
Opinion: Why the New Hampshire Bar Foundation?
By: Hon. Philip Hollman, Ret.
So, what is the essential value of the NH Bar Foundation to the membership of the NH Bar Association? Through its management of the IOLTA Program, the Bar Foundation provides vital support to organizations providing legal services in civil matters to low-income people who are without sufficient financial resources to engage counsel of their own. Additionally, when sufficient funds are available, the Bar Foundation provides financial support to organizations offering law-related education programs to the public, including programs in the schools and elsewhere. Moreover, when funds are available, the Foundation provides financial assistance for programs of particular interest to members of the Bar, such as the oral history project.
The Bar Foundation directs its justice grant awards to a range of organizations that have a legal services component for financially disadvantaged people. There are many such entities, including the statewide legal aid providers and some smaller organizations catering to immigrants, others catering to children, and still others servicing a wide variety of low-income people. In many cases, the reasonable needs of these organizations to accomplish their worthy work go unfilled.
Here is the reality. A portion of the funds provided the Bar Foundation through donations of lawyers makes its way to help the neediest members of our state who have civil law related problems. The organizations we assist let their clients know that the Bar Foundation has provided funds for the legal assistance afforded them. We have heard of several instances in which such clients have articulated greater respect than they previously had for lawyers and the legal profession. When lay persons come to feel that the business of lawyers is more than just a money-making profession, but is also one that gives back to help those who are financially disadvantaged, a higher regard for our profession results. In this regard, dollars donated for the eleemosynary purposes of the Bar Foundation effectively serve a dual purpose. They assist the needy, but they also elevate the estimation of the legal profession in the mind of the person who benefited from the assistance.
Prepared by Philip Hollman on the occasion of his recognition as 2011 Honorary Fellow of the NH Bar Foundation.