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Bar News - May 17, 2013

New Lawyer Column: I Am Going to the Annual Meeting for the First Time


This painting by Melissa Miller is one of the works to be displayed at the NLC art show.
In recent years, the NH Bar Association Annual Meeting has become much less of an event than it once was, especially for younger attorneys. The excuses for skipping the meeting are familiar. Itís expensive. Itís too far away. It takes all weekend. And Iím not going to know anybody there anyway. So, knowing all of that, why would I want to go to the Annual Meeting this year? Well, in a phrase, because "itís not going to be your fatherís annual meeting."

The powers-that-be at the NHBA this year have rebooted the entire event. Instead of a weekend at one of the resorts up north, the Annual Meeting is going to be in Portsmouth this year, over a Friday and part of a Saturday. You can attend all or part of it without committing to an entire weekend away. You donít have to book a hotel room, but you can if you want to.

In light of the change, letís review the excuses for not attending the Annual Meeting.

Too expensive: Not this year. The NHBA is offering a variety of events, some of which have a modest fee and some of which are free. Attorneys admitted after June 2010 can attend the Friday morning CLE, the awards luncheon and one of the afternoon CLE sessions, all for $199. Not bad for 3.5 NHMCLE credits. For the younger members of the Bar, on Friday afternoon, the New Lawyers Committee is hosting an art and cocktail reception, free of charge.

Too far away: Again, not this year. If youíre in Manchester, Concord, or southern New Hampshire, Portsmouth is less than an hour away. And, not for nothing, the meeting gives you an excuse to spend a Friday night in Portsmouth in June. Not the worst thing in the world.

Too long: This yearís Annual Meeting has been designed so you can attend some or part of the event without being committed to the whole thing. If you work in Portsmouth, you can drop in for the Friday luncheon. If youíre from out of town, you can make a day of it and load up on CLE credits. And, if you canít get away from the office, you can still get to Portsmouth for the Presidentís Banquet and entertainment on Friday night.

I wonít know anyone: This year I can guarantee that there will be more young lawyers at the Annual Meeting. Why? Because Iím throwing them a party. Actually, the New Lawyers Committee, of which I am chair, is throwing them a party. The Committee has worked hard to put together an event that the younger members of the Bar will want to attend. There will be drinks, there will be art, and it will be free. It starts Friday at 4 p.m. What else do you need to know?

One more reason to attend: At the Presidentís Banquet on Friday night, our current NH Bar president, Larry Vogelman, will pass the gavel to President-Elect Jaye Rancourt. As you surely know, our president has had a tough year. Through it all, he has continued to serve us. We owe it to him to show our support and be there to send him off in style. For that reason alone, Iíll be at the Annual Meeting this year, and you should be, too.

Ned Sackman

Ned Sackman is an attorney in the Business Law Practice Group in the Manchester office of Bernstein Shur. He focuses his practice on intellectual property counseling and litigation. He is chairman of the NHBA New Lawyers Committee.

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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