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Bar News - December 14, 2012

New Lawyers Event Highlights Closeness of Bench and Bar

More than 200 lawyers and judges, including retired US Supreme Court Justice David Souter, turned out Dec. 5 for a meet-and-greet event organized by the NH Bar Association New Lawyers Committee.

In an environment described as uniquely New Hampshire, nervous new practitioners mingled with experienced lawyers as well as state and federal judges.

"Trust me, this doesn’t happen in New York, and it doesn’t happen in other places," Bar President Larry Vogelman said of the close relationship between NH’s bench and bar.

Souter shook hands with recent graduates and offered them practical advice about handling the weakest part of a case. Remembering some of the most effective advocates he saw in Washington, Souter urged practitioners to always explain the tough issues to their clients and to use the "confession and avoidance" tactic whenever possible. The technique involves admitting to the issue of fact or law that’s working against your client, but finding a way to win the case in spite of it.

When that doesn’t work, Souter said, be straightforward and answer questions directly, even when it could mean an unwanted outcome. Above all, never lie.

"Because once you do, forget the practice of law," he said. "You will never rehabilitate yourself… You will never live it down."

Souter also entertained the crowd with stories from his past and wished the new lawyers luck as they embark on their new careers.

View photos from this and other NH Bar events over the past month.

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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