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Bar News - March 19, 2014

Pro Bono Champions Honored at Midyear Meeting

The following attorneys were recognized at the 2014 NH Bar Association Midyear Meeting for their work in assisting New Hampshire residents through the NH Bar Association Pro Bono Referral Program. Pro Bono Rising Stars are newer attorneys who became involved with the Pro Bono program not long after being admitted to the New Hampshire bar.
2014 Pro Bono Rising Stars

Molly M. Lynch
Molly M. Lynch – After completing her post-graduate fellowship at the Nashua Public Defender’s office, Molly joined the Pro Bono panel last spring. Since then, she has already taken on nine Pro Bono cases, handling issues as diverse as eviction defense, domestic abuse, and federal income tax. In addition to contract work she takes on for other attorneys, she volunteers several hours per week within the Pro Bono Referral Program, assisting with referrals and helping out in both the Low-Income Taxpayer Project and the Domestic Violence Emergency Project.

Rory Parnell
Rory Parnell – Within a year of his November 2011 admission to the NH Bar, Rory joined the Pro Bono Referral Program’s volunteer panel. He then accepted four referrals in just 18 months. Rory does not hesitate to take family law cases and embraces the challenge of navigating the courts to help resolve his clients’ legal issues and concerns.

2014 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Awards

Quentin Blaine
Quentin Blaine – In February 1987, Quentin Blaine accepted his first case with the Pro Bono Program. Last month, Quentin accepted his latest Pro Bono case. Quentin never says no to a referral and always finds time to mentor other volunteers. Because of this, he is one of the cornerstones of the Pro Bono program. His outstanding commitment to equal justice has improved the lives of many, many, North Country families. The staff of the Pro Bono Program is hugely grateful for Quentin’s good work, his compassion and his commitment to helping families in need.

Michael E. Chubrich
Michael E. Chubrich – With both humility and humor, Mike Chubrich takes on tough, multi-layered cases, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of the best outcome for his clients, even if it means going to the First Circuit Court of Appeals as he did in a tax case. Since joining the Pro Bono Program panel decades ago, he’s steadily taken one case after another, including, in more recent years, tax controversies through Pro Bono’s Low-Income Taxpayer Project. He is a favorite among clients because of his respectful, down-to-earth manner and his ability to allay their fears and set them on the right path again. Mike exemplifies what it means to advocate for clients.

Maria P. Gavin
Maria P. Gavin – Within a few months of her admission to the Bar in 2005, Maria Gavin stepped up to take Pro Bono Program referrals for clients needing assistance not only in family law matters, but also estate planning and eviction defense. She extended her volunteer service even further by joining the DOVE Project. Along with representing low-income clients, Maria’s service includes mentoring and training other Pro Bono attorneys, including presenting at DOVE’s recent Unbundled Legal Services seminar. We heartily applaud Maria’s strong commitment to serving the civil legal needs of the vulnerable and poor in her community.

James R. Laffan – Compassionate, skillful and dependable, James Laffan is a tried-and-true volunteer for the Pro Bono Program and its DOVE Project. For nearly 20 years, James has been assisting clients in divorce and parenting cases and has dedicated countless hours helping victims of domestic violence extricate themselves from abusive relationships. According to advocates from the WISE crisis center in Lebanon, “Jim consistently says ‘yes’ when we call for our service users; come rain, come snow, Jim always shows.”

Sarah E. Lavoie
Sarah E. Lavoie – Since joining the Pro Bono panel in 2006, Sarah Lavoie has accepted numerous cases, most of them contested family law matters in Strafford County. Sarah has an unparalleled commitment to the clients she helps through the program, devoting countless hours to their legal issues. Recently, her passion for justice led her to the NH Supreme Court on behalf of a Pro Bono client, who otherwise would have been at sea in pursuing his basic legal rights. As one of her colleagues noted, “Sarah’s longstanding commitment to this client… represents the best that the Bar Association can offer to our indigent population… Hopefully it can also serve as an inspiration to other attorneys to take on a pro bono case.” When Pro Bono staff call, Sarah is always gracious and willing to consider a case, no matter how challenging it may appear.

Robert M. Shepard
Robert M. Shepard – Long involved with the Pro Bono Program, Robert Shepherd has taken an average of three cases per year since 2001. Many of these have been contested family law matters, often involving domestic violence. He has achieved remarkable results for his Pro Bono clients, giving them help and hope, despite their challenging circumstances. His efforts have resulted in greater stability and financial security for low-income people in desperate need of legal services.

Dennis Thivierge
Dennis Thivierge – In 2004, while working as a staff attorney with a state agency, Dennis Thivierge was looking for a discrete opportunity to volunteer his legal expertise to assist victims of domestic violence, and the DOVE Project fit the bill. He attended a Project training and immediately began using his personal time to respond to the urgent legal needs of domestic violence victims. And since then, he has never stopped. Dennis answers calls from three separate crisis centers in the state and, if available, always represents the victim. One case at a time, he champions the rights of victims and their children. More than 50 cases later, his commitment has never wavered.

Dawn Worsley
Dawn Worsley – Beginning in 1999, not long after she joined the NH Bar, Dawn Worsley became a strong advocate for individuals and families in her community, taking on dozens of cases through the Pro Bono program. An enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer in many of Pro Bono’s special initiatives, including DOVE and the Foreclosure Relief Project, she also is a mentor to other volunteers. Dawn is compassionate and shows great understanding of the challenges facing many of Pro Bono’s clients. This award is given with great appreciation for the many hours of time she has volunteered, on behalf of the Pro Bono program and the many low-income clients served through her work.

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