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Bar News - September 20, 2013

Happy 25th Birthday, Lawline!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of a monthly NH Bar Association program that connects volunteer attorneys with members of the public who have legal questions.

Since the first monthly installment of Lawline Ė a two-hour session held the second Wednesday of the month during which a group of attorneys answers public calls for legal advice Ė a total of 11,777 calls have been answered! Thatís equal to roughly 472 calls per year.

Prior to July 1988, Lawline was an annual event that took place during Law Week in early spring. Today, lawyers can participate in Lawline from their homes or offices. Volunteers can answer calls from a central location or remotely.

In May 1988, the Barís Public Information Committee, on behalf of its Community Education Subcommittee, proposed making Lawline monthly. The NHBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the idea, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the past 15 years, 52 law firms in New Hampshire have hosted a Lawline session and 377 attorneys have volunteered to answer calls. These statistics arenít available for the programís first 10 years, but itís estimated that the total number of unique Lawline volunteers is more than 600.

Calls to Lawline span a variety of legal areas, from family law and custody questions to landlord-tenant and estate cases.

August 2013 marked the 12th consecutive year that the Laconia firm of Wescott, Dyer, Fitzgerald & Nichols has hosted Lawline. On Aug. 14, volunteers Allison Ambrose, Erik Simensen, Peter Millham, Rod Dyer, Bob Hemeon, John Giere, with their receptionist, Camille Bailey, gave their time to answer 50 calls from the public.

The NH Bar Association offers Lawline as a free public service from 6-8 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month. For more information or to sign up for the next available Lawline, please contact Lisha Brosseau, 603-715-3229.

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