Board of Governors: County Bar Associations Are Active
By: Dan Wise
A highlight of the April 18 meeting of the NH Bar Association Board of Governors were reports that county and local bar associations are showing renewed energy and activity.
Several board members reported on recent meetings: more than 100 attended the most recent Manchester Bar Association meeting; the Belknap County Bar Association has reinvigorated leadership and is embarking on several projects; the Nashua Bar Association presented its Ted Jordan Humanitarian Award to attorney Jack White; and the Sullivan County Bar Association gathered a large percentage of its membership for a recent dinner meeting. The Rockingham County Bar is next set to meet on May 16.
NHBA Vice President Lisa Wellman-Ally, who practices in Newport, also reported that an expedited security screening process has been developed for Cheshire County Superior Court in collaboration with the Cheshire County Sheriff.
Denice DeStefano, NHBA assistant executive director, explained how the bar association is assisting the Cheshire County Sheriffís Department. Wellman-Ally reported that Sullivan County has had an expedited security screening process in place for about two years.
NHBA President-Elect Jaye Rancourt reported that she and President Larry Vogelman will be meeting with the New Lawyers Committee soon to brainstorm ideas for getting newer lawyers involved in the Association.
The Board, following a presentation by Randy Hawkes, executive director of the NH Public Defender (NHPD), formally approved the NHPD as an organization capable of providing indigent defense services. The Bar Associationís approval is required, by RSA 604-B:4, for the state contract. The NHPD is seeking to renew its contract with the state to provide indigent criminal defense representation for the upcoming two-year state budget cycle. (At-large Governor Jacki Smith, an employee of NHPD, abstained.)
The Board also voted to support HJR1, a resolution that directs the joint legislative historical committee to acquire and display a portrait of suffragist Marilla Marks Ricker. Ricker, originally from Dover, petitioned and won the right of women to apply for admission to the bar in NH.
Immediate Past President Jennifer Parent, a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, provided an update on the panelís agenda for a June 7 public hearing.
Eric Cook, co-chair of the Board Committee on Administration of the Bar, reported that proposals to revise various sections of the NHBA Constitution and bylaws are in the works. He said the committee has also been reviewing governance policies and advertising policies for Bar publications, as they relate to other CLE program providers. As part of that discussion, trends in CLE attendance and revenue indicate that relying on balancing the associationís budget by increasing CLE programming may not always be a viable option.
CLE Director Joanne Hinnendael reported that since 2003, live program revenue has been decreasing, while online revenue has been rising, suggesting that those two lines will meet before too long. Cook said the changing trends mean the Bar needs to be prepared to change to stay competitive. Executive Director Jeannine McCoy thanked the committee for examining the issue.
In her executive directorís report, McCoy reported that the Bar Associationís new membership database software is up and running.
Paula Lewis, Director of Finance and IT, reported that the annual dues and Court fees billing will be sent via email to all members who have submitted an email address to the Bar Association. Court forms that require an original signature will continue to be mailed via US mail. E-invoicing will reduce costs for paper, postage and staff while increasing efficiencies and convenience for members. Development of online bill payment is in the works for 2014.
For results of the recent voting for the 2013-2014 Board of Governors, click here.