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Bar News - July 15, 2011

Board of Governors: Board Braces for Circuit Court Implementation

At its June 24, 2011, meeting at the NHBA Annual Meeting site at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, the NHBA Board of Governors compared observations on the upcoming implementation of the Circuit Court and the effects of the new state budget starting July 1.

Incoming NHBA President Jennifer Parent reported on her participation in a NH Public TV interview on the new Circuit Court with Chief Justice Linda Dalianis and Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly. Parent said her impression of Bar members’ attitude toward the court restructuring was "encouraged but cautious." She said that while there were many good ideas in the Circuit Court plan, the layoffs and expense-savings took effect immediately while some of the efficiencies won’t become a reality until later in the budget cycle. Despite the inevitable "bumps in the road," the plan is better than the alternative of continued court closings and furlough days, she said.

One challenge of the restructuring discussed by the Board was the certification of judges in the Circuit Court to handle new subject areas, such as district division judges crossing over to hear probate division matters. James J. Tenn, Jr., in his last meeting as Immediate Past President, remarked that the Circuit Court restructuring will put some judges into unfamiliar subject areas. Tenn said this presents an opportunity for attorneys to help judges by providing information in these areas and demonstrating their value to the court. The Bar Association will conduct a webcast with Judge Kelly and Deputy Administrative Judge David King on Thursday, July 14 at noon.

Parent also reported that she has been asked by NH Supreme Court Associate Justice Gary Hicks to forward the names of several attorneys as nominees to serve on an advisory committee to the implementation of the eCourt.

Parent, the Bar’s representative on the NH Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, briefed members on the court committee’s public hearing and deliberative session on June 17. She said the Attorney Discipline Office has suggested a change in the trust accounting rule. The Rules Committee will be asking the NHBA Ethics Committee to look at the revision before the Court Rules Committee reconsiders it in December.

Board members agreed on a suggested approach to a section’s inquiry to the Board regarding the filing of an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case. Outgoing NHBA President Marilyn Billings McNamara was thanked for her leadership during a year of change and challenge.

On its consent agenda, the Board also accepted for publication the NHBA Ethics Opinion #2009-10/6, "Settlement Agreements and Restrictions on the Right to Practice."

The Board adjourned and reconvened for a brief Annual Business Meeting.

The Board of Governors next meets on Aug. 18 for an orientation session for the incoming Board.

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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