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Bar News - December 16, 2011

Jaye Rancourt Nominated as President-Elect

Jaye Rancourt
At its November 17 meeting, the NHBA Board of Governors nominated Manchester attorney Jaye Rancourt as President-elect. Her name will appear on the electronic ballot of nominees for the 2012-2013 Board of Governors election to be held this spring. Rancourt is Vice President of the Bar Association this year. (The Board is required by NHBA Bylaws to nominate a candidate before Dec. 31 of each year.)

The current President-elect, Larry Vogelman, automatically takes office as President at the conclusion of the 2012 Annual Meeting in June. Other nominations for the Board will be made by petition, and the election will be held from April 1 to April 15, 2012. Petitions will be available in the January issue of the Bar News.

At the meeting, Belknap County Governor Catherine Broderick announced that she will be resigning from the board, as she will be leaving NH to move to Baltimore. Her term on the board will end in June 2012.

In other actions at the meeting, the Board received and approved consolidated independent audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2011.

NHBA President Jennifer Parent presented information from John MacIntosh, who monitors the legislature for the Bar Association. He said the Legislation Committee was awaiting the drafts of bills that have been introduced. He also indicated progress has been made on HB 408 which proposes to create an attorney exemption for representation of clients with mortgage issues from the SAFE Act. An agreement has been reached with the Mortgage Bankers Association and has the backing of the new Banking Commissioner. The bill is expected to be taken up by the NH House in January. An identical bill, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chair Matthew Houde and Senator Russell Prescott is being prepared to be introduced in the Senate.

Members were reminded of the date of the Midyear Meeting – Wednesday, March 7, 2012, which is being held at a slightly different time of year and different day of the week due to the scheduling challenges created by earlier uncertainty of the Presidential Primary date.

NHBA President Jennifer Parent said she would like to appoint a Midyear Awards Nomination Committee to assist in soliciting nominations for the awards given at the Midyear Meeting (Vickie M. Bunnell Award for Community Service; Distinguished Service to the Public Award; and Outstanding Service in Public Sector/Public Interest Law Award).

The officers of the NHBA met recently with their counterparts of the NH Women’s Bar Association to talk about how both groups can help each other. The NHWBA recently hired its first executive director. Parent also reported that the Court is convening a meeting of stakeholders for mid-December to discuss the possibility of New Hampshire participating in a “uniform bar exam” used by a number of other states.

Beth Deragon, chair of the Gender Equality Committee, provided an update on its proposal to create a voluntary application process for an award/certification/accreditation program for law firms to earn recognition as an employer who is a leader in promotion gender equality and diversity. Last year, the Board approved the concept of the voluntary employer certification process and the Committee indicated it would be working on a step-by-step approach to develop the criteria and implement a training program based on topic areas identified in the last Women in the Profession survey: (1) pay; (2) recruitment, evaluation, and promotion; (3) training and mentoring (including management opportunities); and (4) company culture (work/life balance, handbooks, policies). A discussion followed and the Board indicated it would further discuss the plan at a later meeting.

The Board was also updated on several challenges facing legal services funding in NH – including declining IOLTA revenue, proposed cuts in the federal appropriation for the Legal Services Corporation, state funding cuts to NH Legal Assistance. These challenges in particular, will affect the NHBA Pro Bono Referral Program. President-elect Larry Vogelman agreed to chair a BOG Subcommittee to explore ways to address a potential shortfall in funding for the Pro Bono Program and other Association public service efforts.

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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