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Bar News - June 17, 2011

President's Perspective: In Closing, I Would Like to Say...


NHBA President Marilyn McNamara stands with recipients of the 2011 Pro Bono Awards at the NHBA Midyear Meeting held this past February. Marilyn was a long-time chair of the Pro Bono Referral board and has long been a supporter of legal services for the poor.
This is my last column as New Hampshire Bar Association President. Itís been an interesting year: moneyís tight, the Judicial Branch is changing, the legislature never fails to surprise, and Pierce Law is now the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

The Bar Associationís Midyear Meeting celebrated the Greatest Generation and welcomed Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis to her new role. Again, this year, we had a full house. Our sections and committees have been hard at work. I extend thanks to all who serve our Association, with special recognition to members of the Public Protection Fund Committee (PPF). Faced with a number of small claims, the PPF members have worked long and hard to provide some reimbursement to these clients, as promptly as possible.

I have written about the rules of the road and the need for civic education. This yearís legislative session has highlighted that need. Good government requires checks and balances, respect for the institutions of governance and respect for those who serve the people. Iíve been disappointed by some of the rhetoric coming from elected officials who have spoken without thought and diminished the dignity of the institution. I am concerned about some legislators who impose their own value systems through the legislation they espouse. Elected officials owe a duty to all the people, not just those of like mind. That said, Iíve been heartened by the cooperation between the legislature and the judicial branch as the two co-equal branches worked through the innovations proposed by the judicial branch. Despite the enormous challenges posed by the budget this year, the legislature largely supported the judicial branchís initiatives.

There are so many people to thank, but I can focus only on a few: Upton & Hatfield, for my colleaguesí unwavering support, the Board of Governors and the Associationís many volunteers, for contributing their time and talents; the New Hampshire Bar Foundation leaders and members, for their perseverance and steady march forward, and countless Bar members with whom I have communicated on all manner of issues. The Bar Association staff, from the unseen to the out-front, are a dedicated group of people who work to make the rest of us look like we know what weíre doing.

At the Annual Meeting, I will say a few final words (well, final as to the presidency; Iím not easily silenced) and welcome Jennifer Parent to the role. Like me, sheíll be aided and abetted by a Bar staff with years of experience and expertise. The year will fly by, and at the end, she, too, will feel a touch of nostalgia and a large dose of relief.

Marilyn Billings McNamara, of the Upton & Hatfield law firm, concludes her term as NHBA President at the Annual Meeting on June 25, 2011 at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.

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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