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Bar News - October 14, 2011


Supreme Court Orders

Pursuant to Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51(A)(7), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire adopts the following amendments to court rules.

I. Allocation of Filing Fees in Marital Cases

(Effective July 1, 2011, the special fund established by RSA 461-A:17 was repealed. These amendments redirect that portion of filing fees in marital cases that were deposited in the special fund under RSA 461-A:17 to the mediation and arbitration fund established by RSA 490-E:4. In addition, the amendment to Circuit Court – Family Division Rule 1.3 is otherwise intended simply to codify the current practice with respect to fees charged in the Family Division.)

1. Amend Superior Court Rule 169(II), regarding filing fees in marital cases, as set forth in Appendix A.

2. Amend Circuit Court – Family Division Rule 1.3, regarding filing fees in family division cases, as set forth in Appendix B.

II. Payment of Mediator Fees – Indigent Cases

(Effective July 1, 2011, the special fund established by RSA 461-A:17 was repealed. This amendment changes the source for the initial payment of family mediator fees for indigent cases from the special fund established by RSA 461-A:17 to the mediation and arbitration fund established by RSA 490-E:4.)

1. Amend Supreme Court Rule 48-B(5)(a), regarding family mediator fees in indigent cases, as set forth in Appendix C.

III. Circuit Court Judicial Certification Rule

(Effective July 1, 2011, RSA chapter 490-F created the New Hampshire Circuit Court with three divisions: district division, probate division, and family division. RSA 490-F:6 allows judges to be assigned to one or more divisions of the circuit court and requires a judge to be certified by the supreme court, prior to being assigned to a new division. This rule provides a procedure for judicial certification.)

1. Adopt new Supreme Court Rule 61, regarding New Hampshire Circuit Court judicial certification, on a temporary basis, as set forth in Appendix D.

IV. Trust Accounts Certification Requirements

(This rule amendment deletes the option of certifying that an attorney or foreign legal consultant is willing to submit to a spot compliance audit of his or her trust accounts.)

1. Amend Supreme Court Rule 50-A(1), regarding trust accounts certification requirement, as set forth in Appendix E.

Effective Dates

The amendments in Appendix A shall apply with respect to all marital cases filed on or after July 1, 2011. The amendments in Appendices B, C, D and E shall take effect immediately. In addition, the amendment in Appendix B that adopts Circuit Court – Family Division Rule 1.3(B) shall apply with respect to all marital cases filed on or after July 1, 2011. The amendments in Appendix D shall be referred to the Advisory Committee on Rules for its recommendation as to whether they should be adopted on a permanent basis.

Date: September 13, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 37(4)(a), the Supreme Court appoints Attorney Lisah K. Carpenter, of New London, New Hampshire, to serve on the Hearings Committee of the Attorney Discipline System. Attorney Carpenter’s term shall commence immediately and shall expire on December 31, 2013.

September 19, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with RSA 490-F:6, V, and Supreme Court Rule 61(4), Judge Richard Hampe, who is assigned to the probate division of the circuit court, is certified to sit in the family division to hear only the types of cases that were previously within the jurisdiction of the probate court.

DATE: September 19, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with RSA 490-F:6, V, and Supreme Court Rule 61(5), Judges Paul Desjardins, Edward Gordon, David LeFrancois and Lawrence MacLeod, Jr., are certified to hear cases in the probate division of the circuit court.

DATE: September 19, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with RSA 490-F:6, V, and Supreme Court Rule 61(4), Judge Thomas Bamberger, who is assigned to the district division of the circuit court, is certified to sit in the family division to hear only the types of cases that were previously within the jurisdiction of the district court.

DATE: September 19, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


In accordance with RSA 490-F:6, V, and Supreme Court Rule 61(4), Judge James Leary, who is assigned to the district division of the circuit court, is certified to sit in the family division to hear only the types of cases that were previously within the jurisdiction of the district court.

DATE: September 19, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk of Court
Supreme Court of New Hampshire


ADM-2011-0045
In the Matter of Steven J. Chandler, Esq.

On July 27, 2011, Steven J. Chandler, Esq., was suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire by this court for nonpayment of his 2010/2011 bar dues. The court has been advised by the New Hampshire Bar Association that Attorney Chandler has now paid all outstanding bar dues and fees, and Attorney Chandler has filed a motion for reinstatement. Attorney Chandler’s motion for reinstatement is granted. Attorney Chandler is hereby reinstated to the practice of law in New Hampshire.

Dalianis, C.J., and Duggan, Hicks, Conboy and Lynn, JJ., concurred.
DATE: September 20, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


ADM-2011-0054
In the Matter of Rebecca A. Robertson, Esq.

On July 27, 2011, Rebecca A. Robertson, Esq., was suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire by this court for nonpayment of her 2010/2011 bar dues. The court has been advised by the New Hampshire Bar Association that Attorney Robertson has now paid all outstanding bar dues and fees, and Attorney Robertson has filed a motion for reinstatement. Attorney Robertson’s motion for reinstatement is granted. Attorney Robertson is hereby reinstated to the practice of law in New Hampshire.

Dalianis, C.J., and Duggan, Hicks, Conboy and Lynn, JJ., concurred.
DATE: September 20, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


LD-2009-0012
In the Matter of Jeanne M. Vanim Botting

On December 8, 2009, the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) filed an assented-to petition for three-year suspension from the practice of law of Attorney Jeanne M. Vanim-Botting. The PCC alleged that Attorney Vanim-Botting had violated Rules 1.15(a), 1.15(b), 4.1(a), 8.1(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct by improperly disbursing funds to herself from her client trust account, by making false statements to others, and by making false statements in connection with a disciplinary matter. The petition stated that Attorney Vanim-Botting did not contest the allegations and agreed to the recommended sanction. On December 14, 2009, the court suspended Attorney Vanim-Botting from the practice of law pending further order of the court. It appointed Attorney Alethea Froburg to take possession of Attorney Vanim-Botting’s client files and trust accounts.

In February 2010, Attorney Froburg reported to the court that she had been unable to contact Attorney Vanim-Botting despite numerous attempts to do so. She reported that, consequently, she had been unable to take possession of Attorney Vanim-Botting’s client files and trust accounts. The court ordered Attorney Vanim-Botting to contact Attorney Froburg and to comply with Attorney Froburg’s requests. In March 2010, Attorney Froburg reported that Attorney Vanim-Botting had not contacted her. The court scheduled a hearing on April 21, 2010, and issued an order requiring Attorney Vanim-Botting to appear and to show cause why she should not be held in contempt and subject to sanctions until she complied with this court’s orders. Attorney Vanim-Botting did not appear for the hearing. The court issued an order finding Attorney Vanim-Botting in contempt and directing that a capias be issued for her immediate arrest. The Carroll County Sheriff was unable to serve the capias, however.

In June 2010, the court remanded this matter to the PCC for it to consider whether the events occurring after her suspension affected its sanction recommendation. After further proceeding, the PCC filed an assented-to petition for disbarment. The PCC alleged that Attorney Vanim-Botting’s conduct after her suspension violated Rule 3.4(c) and 8.4(a). The PCC stated that Attorney Vanim-Botting assented to the disbarment provided that she was afforded an opportunity to file a response to the petition.

Upon receipt of the assented-to petition for disbarment, the court issued an order of notice requiring that the order and the petition be served upon Attorney Vanim-Botting. The order of notice stated that any answer to the petition must be filed within 30 days of service. The order and petition were served at Attorney Vanim-Botting’s abode on July 30, 2011. No answer to the petition has been filed.

Rule 37(16)(c) provides that if a respondent attorney fails to answer a petition, "the allegations set forth therein shall be deemed admitted and no further hearing shall be required." Accordingly, the allegations in the petition for three-year suspension and the petition for disbarment are deemed admitted. Attorney Vanim-Botting is found to have violated Rules 1.15(a), 1.15(b), 3.4(c), 4.1(a), 8.1(a), 8.4(c), and 8.4(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Considering the seriousness and willful nature of Attorney Vanim-Botting’s misconduct, the court concludes that disbarment is the appropriate sanction in this case.

THEREFORE, the court orders that Jeanne M. Vanim-Botting be disbarred from the practice of law in New Hampshire. She is hereby assessed all expenses incurred by the Professional Conduct Committee in the investigation and prosecution of this matter. Dalianis, C.J., and Duggan, Hicks, Conboy and Lynn, JJ., concurred.

DATE: October 3, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


LD-2011-0009
In the Matter of Evan A. Greene

A certified copy of the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in United States v. Evan Greene has been filed with this court. The judgment states the Evan Greene pleaded guilty to twelve misdemeanor counts of violating 12 U.S.C § 2607(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2, Real Estate Kickbacks and Unearned Fees. The court concludes that these convictions constitute "serious crimes," as defined by Supreme Court Rule 37(9)(b), and that Attorney Greene’s immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public and to preserve the integrity of the legal profession. See Rule 37(16)(d) and (f). Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that:

(1) In accordance with Rule 37(9)(a), Evan A. Greene is immediately suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire until further order of this court;

(2) Copies of this order and of the judgment shall be served on Attorney Greene and his counsel by first class and certified mail;

(3) Attorney Greene may show cause on or before ten days from the date of service why the suspension should be lifted.

Duggan, Hicks, and Lynn, JJ., concurred.
DATE: October 4, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk


R-2011-0001
In re. 2011 Annual Report of the Advisory Committee on Rules

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules (committee) has reported a number of proposed rule amendments to the New Hampshire Supreme Court with a recommendation that they be adopted. On or before Monday, November 21, 2011, members of the bench, bar, legislature, executive branch, or public may file with the clerk of the supreme court comments on any of the proposed rule amendments. An original and seven copies of all comments shall be filed. Comments may also be e-mailed to the court at rulescomment@courts.state.nh.us.

The proposed rule amendments are set forth below.

I. Rules of Professional Conduct

1. Rule 1.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. This proposed amendment to Rule 1.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct was submitted to the Advisory Committee on Rules by the Ethics Committee of the New Hampshire Bar Association. The proposed amendment focuses on the application of Rule 1.10’s firm-wide imputation rule to conflicts of interest that can arise when a lawyer ("migrating lawyer") leaves one firm to take employment with another. The proposed amendment allows for "screening" of the migrating lawyer as a means of resolving conflicts that might otherwise arise due to the attorney’s possession of confidential information regarding clients at his or her former firm. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends amending this rule as set forth in Appendix A.

II. Code of Judicial Conduct

1. Supreme Court Rule 38, Canon 3, Rule 3.1. A proposed amendment to Supreme Court Rule 38, Canon 3, Rule 3.1, put out for public hearing in June 2011, clarified that the 15% income limitation found in paragraph B(2) applies to all avocational activities and is not limited to specific avocational activities, such as teaching. Following the public hearing, the committee voted to recommend this amendment. The committee also recommends two other changes to Rule 3.1(B)(2). First, the committee recommends eliminating the requirement that the supreme court’s approval of a request to exceed the 15% of judicial salary avocational income occur in advance of exceeding the cap.

The committee recommends this change because it is not always possible for a judge to know in advance that his avocational income for a calendar year will exceed the cap. For example, a judge who receives royalty income from the sale of legal publications he has authored may not be able to ascertain whether such income will exceed the cap until the end of the year, when the amount of sales for the year is known. Second, the committee recommends removing the requirement that the supreme court’s approval to exceed the cap be by unanimous vote of the court. Given that the court may take all other actions based on a majority vote, the committee saw no reason why this one decision should require a unanimous vote of the court.

The committee recommends amending this rule as set forth in Appendix B.

III. Supreme Court Rule 24

1. Supreme Court Rule 24. The committee recommends adding a comment to this rule as set forth in Appendix C.

IV. Supreme Court Rules – Minimum Continuing Legal Education
(Late Fees and Suspension Process for Noncompliance)

1. Supreme Court Rule 53.7(A), regarding sanctions for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends adopting, on a permanent basis, the temporary amendments adopted by the supreme court order dated May 11, 2010, as set forth in Appendix D.

V. Mediator Fees

1. Supreme Court Rule 48-B, regarding mediator fees in family cases. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends adopting, on a permanent basis, the temporary amendments adopted by the supreme court order dated August 10, 2010, and September 13, 2011, and two additional technical amendments, as set forth in Appendix E.

VI. Vital Statistics Reports – Confidentiality

1. Superior Court Rule 203, regarding vital statistics reports. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends adopting, on a permanent basis, the temporary amendments adopted by the supreme court order dated August 10, 2010, as set forth in Appendix F. 2. Family Division Rule 2.25, regarding vital statistics reports. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends adopting, on a permanent basis, the temporary amendments adopted by the supreme court order dated August 10, 2010, as set forth in Appendix G.

VII. District Court - Town Ordinance Violation Rules

1. District Court Rules 6.1 to 6.7, regarding local ordinance citations. After public hearing held in June 2011, the committee recommends adopting, on a permanent basis, the temporary amendments adopted by the supreme court order dated January 19, 2011, as set forth in Appendix H.

Copies of the proposed changes are available upon request to the clerk of the supreme court at the N.H. Supreme Court Building, 1 Charles Doe Drive, Concord, New Hampshire 03301 (Tel. 603-271-2646). In addition, the proposed changes are available on the Internet at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/index.htm.

The current rules of the New Hampshire state courts are also available on the Internet at http://www.courts.state.nh.us/rules/index.htm.

October 5, 2011
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk
Supreme Court of New Hampshire

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