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Bar News - January 15, 2014

We the People Alum Returns as a Judge


Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan serves as a judge in the We the People competition, after having participated in the program as a high school student in Nashua.

The Nashua High School North team was to compete in the state finals in Concord on Jan. 10.
Assistant Attorney General Patrick Queenan was once a participant in We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, a high school program that pits teams from various schools against each other in a Constitutional battle of wits. Now, he’s a judge.

Queenan, 30, of Nashua was part of the Nashua High School WTP team back in 2000 and remembers it as an experience that helped solidify his interest in the law. “It encouraged me toward a political science major in college and sparked my interest in the Constitution,” Queenan said partway through a day of judging high school teams at the regional competition in Concord on Dec. 6.

We the People is a comprehensive curriculum that centers on the US Constitution and the structure of the American government. The questions students must answer – in the form of mock congressional hearings at the Legislative Office Building in Concord – force them to not only understand the principles of the Constitution and a democratic government, but also to connect them with current events and recent US Supreme Court cases. Impressed with the students’ knowledge, Queenan says he doesn’t recall his own team’s answers being quite as thorough.

Coming from Nashua, Queenan did remember the feeling of entering the Legislative Office Building as a high school student and giving a presentation in front of esteemed and unfamiliar judges.

“It seemed very official,” he said. “I wasn’t in Concord very often, and the formality of it was pretty impressive.”

Following his WTP experience, Queenan enrolled at Temple University as a double major in journalism and political science, but eventually dropped the journalism to focus exclusively on politics. He then went on to New England School of Law in Boston. He served as a NH Superior Court law clerk for two years before taking a position at the NH Attorney General’s Office, where he represents state agencies, such as the NH Department of Education, the state liquor commission, and others.

The state championship for We the People was to be held Jan. 11, after Bar News press time. The two top-performing teams will advance to the national competition in Washington, DC, in the spring.

The New Hampshire Bar Association sponsors We the People through its Law Related Education (LRE) Department. LRE supports teachers participating in the program and provides a variety of other law-related educational materials for public schools, private schools, and parents who home-school. For more information, please contact program coordinator Robin Knippers, 603-715-3259, or visit the LRE web page.

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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