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Bar News - April 13, 2012

Foundation Honorees Named; New Format for May 8 Event

Michael S. Lewis

David L. Nixon
The Bar Foundation will be honoring Michael S. Lewis with the Robert E. Kirby Award and David L. Nixon with the Frank Rowe Kenison Award, both to be presented at the NH Bar Foundation’s Annual Event on Tuesday evening, May 8 at the Grappone Conference Center.

Also to be celebrated: the 30th anniversary of IOLTA in New Hampshire. The program – one of the first in the country – has raised more than $28 million for legal services and education.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with the award presentations, recognition of NH banks’ support of IOLTA and past chairs of the Bar Foundation, and ending with the cutting of the IOLTA "birthday" cake. The shortened formal program then gives way to a celebration of the 30th anniversary of IOLTA. Instead of a formal banquet, guests will enjoy informal fare, with plenty of time for socializing.

Proceeds from the event will support the charitable mission of the NH Bar Foundation. Tickets are $75. Contact for more information.

Michael S. Lewis – Robert E. Kirby Award

Michael Lewis, an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Bureau at the NH Department of Justice, will be the 2012 recipient of the Robert E. Kirby Award, annually presented to a lawyer "of great skill, civility and good humor."

Kirby, an attorney with the Concord law firm of Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, died in 2006 at the age of 35. The award honors an attorney 35 years old or younger who demonstrates the traits of civility, courtesy, perspective and excellent advocacy embodied by Kirby. A panel of judges representing each level of the courts, state and federal in New Hampshire, makes the selection.

Bar Foundation Awards
Past Recipients
Frank R. Kenison Award
Robert E. Kirby Award
Hon. John T. Broderick
Howard J. Zibel
Hon. Jacalyn Colburn
Richard Guerriero
Hon. Francis J. Frasier
Frederic K. Upton
Elliott Berry
Nina C. Gardner
Jack B. Middleton
Ronald K. Lospennato
Hon. James E. Duggan
Marcia Sink
Hon. Susan B. Carbon
John E. Tobin
Hon. Edwin W. Kelly
Holly B. Haines
Sarah E. Mattson
Jaye L. Rancourt
Charles J. Keefe
Joceline D. Champagne
Mary Ann Dempsey
Mary E. Tenn
Kelly Ayotte
Jennifer Parent
John T. Pendleton
Hon. Joseph N. Laplante
James J. Tenn, Jr.
Diane Murphy Quinlan
Mark E. Howard
John P. Kacavas
Lewis, 34, was admitted to the Bar in 2004 after receiving his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley law school. He clerked for US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro, and worked for several years as an attorney in Washington, DC, before returning to his native state to join the Attorney General’s office in 2007. According to his colleagues, Lewis was a quick study and, as one prosecutor put it, he has become a "keystone" of the homicide unit, including working on the Addison and Brooks capital murder cases, as well as numerous other homicide trials. Lewis also has been active as a volunteer, having written for the Bar News and Bar Journal throughout his career, and as a key volunteer for the NH Supreme Court Society.

Colleagues praise not only Lewis’s intellect but his professionalism, generous nature, his humility and civility.

"It’s a great honor to receive the Kirby Award," Lewis said. " It’s a great honor because of how much I admire the people who received it in the past, and because it recognizes civility and good humor – virtues that could not be more important in today’s world."

David L. Nixon – Kenison Award

Manchester trial attorney David L. Nixon will soon add the Bar Foundation’s prestigious Frank Rowe Kenison Award to his long list of plaudits.

The Kenison award was established by the Bar Foundation to recognize an individual who makes substantial contributions to the betterment of New Hampshire citizens through the administration of justice, the legal profession, or the advancement of legal thought.

The award is named for Frank Rowe Kenison (1907-1980). A member of the New Hampshire Bar Association for 48 years, Kenison gained a national reputation as a jurist while serving as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 1952 to 1977. He was an exquisite legal thinker who committed his life to the legal system, education about the law, and the promise of equal justice for all.

Nixon is a renowned trial attorney. One of his nominators, a veteran attorney himself, unreservedly said "I have seen none better in trial practice than Dave Nixon." A past president of the NH Bar Association (1980-81) and a current volunteer in the Pro Bono Program’s DOVE Project, Nixon believes that representation of the underprivileged and vulnerable is a key responsibility of the legal profession, and he has been deeply involved in the advancement of his profession and his community.

In addition to his long involvement with the New Hampshire Bar Association, he also has been active nationally in the American Association for Justice and the International Society of Barristers. He served in both the NH House of Representatives and in the NH Senate, where he served as Senate President for one year. He has long been an enthusiastic volunteer and inspiring leader in legal, community and civic, and veterans’ organizations.

A friend and colleague, retired Chief Justice David Brock, said of Nixon: "His long history of selfless professionalism marks him as one of our state’s outstanding examples of the complete lawyer."

In remarks Nixon submitted on the occasion of his 50th anniversary in the practice of law, Nixon fondly recalled the mentorship of Chief Justice Kenison when he was a young lawyer. Said Nixon: "He favored the law being used as a means of helping people in need despite doctrinaire, if not Draconian, obstacles to relief constructed by conservative Congresses, legislators, and federal and state judges. During his years at the helm, the NH Supreme Court was considered…one of the best and most people-oriented [courts] in the country."

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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