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Bar News - February 22, 2013

Board Briefed on Legislative Outlook, New Lawyer Project


A legislative representative to the NH Bar Association briefed the NHBA Board of Governors at its Jan. 17 meeting about what to expect from the Legislature this year.

Legislative liaison John MacIntosh said that with a new governor and another challenging budget situation, he does not expect many major legislative initiatives. He said there have been about 700 bills submitted to Legislative Services for drafting, a relatively low number.

The board voted to ratify the recommendations of the NHBA Legislation Committee on three bills that were slated for hearings early in the session. The committee, which meets weekly during the first few weeks of the session, reviews proposed legislation and selects a small number of bills for advocacy or informational purposes. The committee’s actions are then submitted to the NHBA Board for its approval.

Also at the meeting, Thomas Trevethick, general counsel to the NH Attorney Discipline Office, introduced Sara Greene, the newly appointed disciplinary counsel for the ADO. She previously represented respondents in disciplinary hearings and did other civil litigation in Arizona. Also, the Professional Conduct Committee, the deliberative body that decides or recommends sanctions for misconduct, has a new chair, David Rothstein, and other new members. (See story.)

The board also was briefed on a New Lawyers Committee (NLC) project that is a continuation of a Leadership Academy service project initiated last year. Francesca Hennessy, a member of the NLC and a graduate of the 2012 Leadership Academy, described a proposal by the committee to continue an orientation project, "Fostering Legal Independence," for young adults aging out of the foster care system.

Teams of volunteer lawyers will conduct sessions for small groups of young adults on their legal rights and responsibilities, and also provide career advice. The project calls for two to three sessions to be held at different locations in the state with small groups of youths, with NLC volunteers doing the presentations. The board approved an expenditure of $150 to defray expenses of the sessions, which will be held at state offices.

In other business, NHBA Board Secretary Peter Hutchins described a memo he had drafted with commentary and concerns regarding a Supreme Court Rules Committee proposal to revamp the Rule 170 mediation program. No vote was taken on the memo; board members commented on Hutchins’ draft and suggested particular emphasis be placed on whether mediators should be required to pay a fee to be listed as available for free mediations, and how extensive the training requirement should be for experienced mediators. Lastly, it was suggested that the Court should take steps to recognize the contributions of volunteers to mediation.

The board, on its consent agenda, also voted to accept the latest NHBA Ethics Committee opinion, Limitations on ‘Million-Dollar’ Advocacy, for publication.

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