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Bar News - December 13, 2013

Board Reviews Judicial Evaluation Process


The NH Bar Association Board of Governors at its Nov. 21 meeting was briefed on the initial work of a committee looking at the state’s recently revamped judicial performance evaluation process.

Christopher Keating, executive director of the New Hampshire Judicial Council; and Daniel Will, former chair of the NHBA Committee on Cooperation with the Courts, are leading a group that is reviewing Supreme Court Rule 56 regarding several issues, including whether there are ways to improve the process and ensure that the procedure used conforms with state law. (In an upcoming issue, the Bar News will report in more detail on the judicial evaluation process.)

Keating said administrative judges of the trial courts have been “earnestly engaged” with the committee in discussing the evaluation process.

The NHBA Board of Governors also voted to approve the 2013 annual update to the NH Title Examination Standards, a product of the NHBA Real Property Section. (Learn more.)

After a brief discussion, the board agreed to meet next month with representatives of the NH Campaign for Legal Services to discuss the proposed creation of dedicated categories (such as areas of need) for the Campaign. The Campaign raises funds that are shared by NH Legal Assistance, the Legal Advice & Referral Center, and the NHBA Pro Bono Referral Program. Dedicated giving is a technique that proponents believe can encourage donors who might not otherwise give to the general purposes of a fundraising campaign, but restricting fundraising proceeds can hamper a grantee’s ability to conduct core activities. The issue of dedicated funding, the Board said, should be part of the overall agreement under which the three agencies share funding from the Campaign.

NHBA President Jaye Rancourt discussed a letter from a female Bar member who, seeking to confer with a client at the NH State Prison in Concord, was denied access due to a difference in interpretation of the prison’s attire guidelines. Rancourt said she is investigating the incident and will report back to the Board.

Board members shared updates from around the state, including information about the new Cheshire County courthouse (scheduled to open Dec. 16), a retirement event scheduled for Circuit Court Judge Dan Capiello in Strafford County, the advent of the call center transition at the Grafton County Superior Court, and an event for retiring Circuit Court Judge Peter Hurd in Rockingham County. (The events for Judge Hurd and Judge Capiello took place after the Bar News deadline.)

Board members also received information about a retirement event for US District Court Clerk Jim Starr on Jan. 9.

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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