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Bar News - March 19, 2014

Leadership Academy: A Skeptic, Converted


I never liked the idea of “leadership” training, but the Bar’s Leadership Academy was different in two ways.

First, the classes were practical, from the first to the last. Second, I got to know my classmates as friends, and we worked together as people, not just lawyers trying to advance our own careers.

See What Everyone’s Talking About
The NH Bar Association Leadership Academy is a professional development and leadership skills program tailored specifically to lawyers. Starting in 2010, select applicants who have been practicing between three and 10 years have joined three successive classes of Leadership Academy graduates. The program aims to identify, inspire and instruct attorneys, helping them to become confident leaders of their profession and their communities. The NH Bar also has sponsored special alumni events where graduates can network and share ideas.

The next Leadership Academy class will be admitted in September 2014. Until then, some graduates are taking to the pages of Bar News to reflect on their Leadership Academy experiences. Find out more.
Leadership Academy – Class of 2015
Application deadline: July 18, 2014*
Notification: Aug. 29, 2014*
*These dates are more than tentative, but not etched in stone.
When discussing the usefulness of the NHBA Leadership Academy, it is difficult to single out any one example, but I do remember getting the opportunity to discuss technology with, among others, attorney Rob Howard and US District Court Judge Landya McCafferty. Concerned about taking your practice to cloud? You should be and, thanks to this one Leadership Academy class, I know why. Judge McCafferty was so informative that our class requested another session with her.

The business sector module also was beneficial. I try to emulate the personal note-writing techniques that Dr. Dupuis urged upon us. To those of you who have received one of my notes, I apologize for the handwriting.

During the Leadership Academy year, we each spent a day shadowing a judge. After having the privilege of shadowing the Honorable James Leary in Nashua District Court, I have now seen lawyers at work from a judge’s point of view; you can’t help but try harder when you understand how dedicated our judiciary really is.

The academy presenters and classes were great, but, experience has taught, they would have been less so, far less so, without great classmates. I can’t overstate this. We work in a competitive, adversarial business and, as your mom told you long ago, competitive and adversarial is no way to make friends. From my class, and some of the advisors and presenters, I have developed real friendships. We turn to one another for advice, both personal and professional. I don’t know if they’re leaders, but my classmates are people, and, in this business, I think that’s better.

Kirk Simoneau

Kirk Simoneau is a partner at the Manchester firm of Nixon, Vogelman, Barry, Slawsky & Simoneau.

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