Bar News - August 23, 2013
Meet the New Members of the NHBA Board of Governors
In a couple of years, Mary Tenn will become the second person in her family to hold the title of New Hampshire Bar President.
Vice president of the NHBA Board of Governors this year, Tenn, a personal injury, divorce and business litigator, runs the Manchester law firm of Tenn and Tenn with her two older brothers and younger sister. James Tenn was the 2009-10 president of the NH Bar, and Mary says his tenure helped her decide to get involved.
“I had a bird’s-eye view to everything that my brother Jim did when he was Bar president, because I sat across the hall from him,” she said during a recent interview. “I think the Bar does very important work. At a time when the court system and resources are very strapped – and that creates a lot of challenges for us as practitioners – the bar acts as a good liaison to help us deal with those issues.”
Born and raised in Manchester, Mary is a graduate of Central High School. She attended Boston College and Harvard Law School. She is vice chairman of the NH Board of Bar Examiners and a past member of the professional conduct committee. In 2005, she received the Robert E. Kirby Award from the NH Bar Foundation, which honors lawyers age 35 or younger who exhibit civility, professionalism and good humor. She lives in Manchester with her husband and two rambunctious sons, ages 7 and 9.
Tenn said she believes another important function of the bar association – one she hopes to help encourage and enhance – is to foster a sense of community among law practitioners in New Hampshire.
Now a Portsmouth attorney representing Rockingham County on the Board of Governors, Patrick O’Day was once a French interpreter on a West African gold-mining expedition.
Patrick O’Day and his ultimate frisbee team, Flashback, compete in the USA Ultimate Masters Championship in Denver, Colo., in late July.
A friend of O’Day’s knew the Hunt brothers, the former billionaires whose fortunes collapsed with the silver market in the 1980s. The Hunts needed an interpreter they could trust for a trip through Mali and Chad. The friend recommended O’Day, who was between his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the time and had studied at a French-speaking school in Luxembourg after high school.
Originally from Alexandria, Va., the son of a lobbyist, O’Day studied education in college and grad school and, as his first career, worked as a college administrator for 15 years. His dissertation work involved traveling to Kahzakstan, Turkestan and Uzbekistan, where he surveyed law school students about their experiences. He was working on his doctorate when he decided to switch tracks and go to law school himself.
“I think I do have a slightly different perspective [than other members of the board], because I had a different career before I went into law,” he said.
O’Day, 49, is now in private practice in Portsmouth and is raising two daughters, ages 10 and 13, with his wife in Exeter, where he is chairman of the school board. He also is co-captain of Flashback, an ultimate Frisbee team that competed last month in the USA Ultimate Masters Championship in Denver, Colo.
A graduate of the NH Bar Association Leadership Academy, O’Day has always been interested in leadership and strategic planning. Working on the Leadership Academy Steering Committee “opened my eyes to the statewide potential and the need to give back,” he said.
James A. Shepard
A former Littleton police officer, James Shepard is a New Hampshire State Police prosecutor who also volunteers to represent victims of domestic violence.
For most criminal prosecutors in the state, Shepard said, interaction with the state bar association is minimal.
“All of my colleagues that I interact with on a regular basis have no idea what the bar association is all about or what the board of governors does,” he said.
Shepard is interested in helping his colleagues in prosecutorial roles across the state gain a better understanding of the bar’s function, its structure and the services it offers. He also wants to work on ensuring the bar association’s relevancy to its members.
Now representing Merrimack County on the Board of Governors, Shepard got involved with the Bar Association about four years ago, after he finished law school in Maryland. He started taking Pro Bono cases through the NHBA Pro Bono Referral Program’s Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) Project.
Originally from New Jersey, Shepard moved to his wife’s native New Hampshire in 1996. He worked for five years at the Littleton Police Department, where he developed a knack for handling domestic violence cases. He also gained experience as a police prosecutor, which led him to pursue a law degree.
As a state police prosecutor at the district division level, Shepard works in a number of courthouses, mostly in Merrimack and Hillsborough counties. He is the father of two boys, ages 4 and 6, and dabbles in endurance sports. “I’ve been doing some short triathlons and some marathons,” he said.
Ora Schwartzberg gets people to cooperate, and that goes for clients in her mediation and collaborative divorce law practice and her fellow New Hampshire lawyers.
A Philadelphia native with law offices in rural Piermont and in Concord, Schwartzberg has been practicing law since 1985 and will now represent Grafton County on the NHBA Board of Governors. She works with couples in mediation and sees that often they would rather settle a case themselves than have it drag out in court. Just as coming to an agreement can help divorcing couples and their kids, Schwartzberg said, lawyers could improve the practice of law in New Hampshire by being more congenial.
“I have a very strong interest in improving the professionalism among our colleagues, not just in Grafton County, but throughout the state,” said Schwartzberg, the former president of the Grafton County Bar Association.
Schwartzberg, who previously co-chaired the NHBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, said she would like to see more events that bring Bar members together and promote civility and respect, inside and outside the courtroom.
“You can’t serve your clients well if you’re in an adverse relationship with every other attorney you come across,” she said. “... I’m trying to temper that.”
In 2009, Schwartzberg published a book, Divorce Mediation from the Inside Out: A Mindful Approach to Divorce. She is a member of the NHBA Family Law Section and the New Hampshire Association for Justice.
She and her husband live in Piermont with their two German shepherds and spend their weekends boating and enjoying the water. They have three sons and two grandchildren.
Practicing law in sparsely populated Coos County requires broad, general knowledge and the ability to quickly learn new areas of law. That, and the valuable mentoring she has received, is what drew Sandra Cabrera to accept a position as an associate at WaystackFrizzell Trial Lawyers about a year ago.
But as a native of northeastern New Jersey, just outside New York City, Cabrera didn’t exactly know what she was in for when she moved to Colebrook.
“I didn’t, at the time when I applied, realize how long it takes to get all the way up to the top of New Hampshire,’ she said recently. “You sort of are required to be a general practitioner if you live in a rural area like Colebrook.”
Cabrera’s practice includes contract, landlord-tenant, and probate matters, and personal injury law. A former law clerk in Strafford and Carroll counties, Cabrera, 28, is a graduate of Vermont Law School. She initially studied biology, which led her to environmental policy and eventually to law school, where she gained a broader appreciation for the law.
Cabrera decided to get involved with Association leadership to expand her network and support the work of the association. “I’m still pretty early in my career, but I’ve learned how important it is to get out there and create a network of attorneys who know you and can listen to any troubles you have, whether it’s just work or work-life balance,” she said. “I’m excited both for the networking and also just to contribute my time back to the profession, because it has been so supportive of me.” Cabrera will represent Coos County for a two-year term on the NHBA Board of Governors. She and her husband have two dogs – a terrier mix and a Siberian husky – who love living in the North Country. In her leisure time, she enjoys horseback-riding and hiking.
The decade John Curran spent as a member of the New Hampshire Board of Registration for Funeral Directors taught him a lot about being a lawyer.
Like lawyers, funeral directors offer a service to people at their most vulnerable time.
“As odd as it sounds, the complaints that were registered against funeral directors are probably much like the complaints the PCC gets,” said Curran, who will serve a three-year term as governor-at-large on the NHBA board. “There were a lot of career lessons to take away from it.”
The funeral director board is just one on a laundry list of volunteer organizations Curran has served. He is currently a member of the NH Higher Education Commission and a trustee of the Leach Library in Londonderry, where he lives with his wife, three daughters (ages 9, 12, and 14), and his mixed-breed dog (“Even the dog is a girl!”)
A litigator who manages the New Hampshire office of midsize Massachusetts firm Curtin, Murphy & O’Reilly, Curran splits his practice between defending police and corrections officers against charges of misconduct, and acting as counsel for Market Basket.
Curran comes from a family of cops. A homicide prosecutor at the NH Attorney General’s Office from 1992 to 1995, Curran said he was always more drawn to a career in law than one in law enforcement, but his family taught him the importance of public service.
“It was one of those things that was instilled in me when I was growing up, and I believe in it,” he said.
Curran, 50, said he felt now was a good time to join the Board of Governors – something he had always thought about doing. He said he would like to help colleagues better understand the bar association’s work and the services it offers, while helping to preserve the “New Hampshire way” of practicing law.
Other Board Members
The NHBA Board of Governors also includes these members:
Officers: President Jaye Rancourt, President-elect Lisa Wellman-Ally, Secretary Peter Hutchins, Treasurer Rob Howard and Immediate Past President Larry Vogelman.
Governors-at-Large: Quentin Blaine, Jonathan Eck, Christopher Regan and Jacki Smith.
Public Sector Governor: Charles S. Temple.
County Governors serving the remainder of their two-year terms: Judith Homan (Belknap), Dennis Morgan (Carroll), Leon Goodwin III (Cheshire), Scott Harris (Hillsborough North), David Tencza (Hillsborough South), Francis Bruton (Strafford) and Lanea Witkus (Sullivan).
ABA delegate: Russell Hilliard.