Bar News - May 21, 2014
Section Connection: Fast-Growing Sections Mirror Practice Trends
Participation in NH Bar Association sections is a way for experienced practitioners to keep up with developments in the law in that practice area, and it also can be a great way for an attorney new to that practice area to gain familiarity with it.
Perhaps it’s also a barometer of the popularity of particular areas of law. Looking at section membership totals over the past five years (November 2009 to November 2013), the graph to the right shows the five fastest-growing NHBA sections. It appears that growth in section membership corresponds to practice areas that, due to demographics or business trends, are growing in importance.
Given population demographics and the state’s recent passage of legislation making New Hampshire a more “trust-friendly” state, it’s probably not a surprise that Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate, already one of the largest sections in the bar association, grew the most in terms of members, adding 73 over five years, for a 21 percent growth rate.
Two of the fastest-growing sections, by percentage rate, were smaller sections – the Military Law Section (46 percent growth rate) grew from 13 to 19 members, while membership in the Health Law Section, covering a legal area that has seen mushrooming activity in new laws and importance in the economy, surged 29 percent, boosting its membership from 65 to 84 from 2009 to 2013.
Rounding out the top five fastest-growing sections are: Intellectual Property Law, which added 16 members to grow to 99 members (19 percent growth rate) and Labor & Employment Law, a much larger section, which added 23 members, a growth rate of 13 percent.
Section memberships fluctuate, as new admittees obtain free section membership for their first year, and may choose to join multiple sections.
Several of the largest sections have grown little or not at all, despite offering many services and activities. Family Law, for example, added 20 members, which amounts to a growth rate of only 5 percent during the five-year period. Real Property law, the Bar’s largest section, did not grow, its member total declining by five. (Given the slump of the real estate economic sector, an insignificant decline may be a testament to the perceived value of the section to members.)
Section Connection aims to highlight the activities, services and benefits of section participation. Visit www.nhbar.org and check out the Calendar Highlights on the right side of the home page for upcoming events. Or better yet, sign up as a Section member and receive your notices via email. Contact Section Coordinator Patty Frechette to find out more.
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