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Bar News - June 18, 2014

Pro Bono to Withdraw in 2015 from Campaign for Legal Services

The New Hampshire Bar Association recently ended negotiations on renewing its role in the Campaign for Legal Services, the joint fundraising campaign of NH Legal Assistance, the Legal Advice & Referral Center and the Pro Bono Referral Program.

NHBA President Jaye Rancourt released the following statement explaining the action:
“After much discussion and consultation with the many parties involved, the NH Bar Association has decided to withdraw from the fundraising partnership with the Campaign for Legal Services (Campaign) after Dec. 31, 2014.

“We will continue to expand and strengthen our working relationship with the other agencies in the Campaign, focusing on the coordinated and efficient delivery of civil legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.

“As discussions on a renewal agreement evolved, it became clear that the Bar Association and Pro Bono needed to sharpen their focus on supporting members who are volunteering their legal expertise and time to represent or advise disadvantaged clients.

“Under the existing Campaign agreement that dates back to 2005, the Bar Association’s Pro Bono Referral Program was set to receive 15 percent of the net Campaign revenue. We hope to replace the funds Pro Bono will be losing without harming the Campaign by looking to other revenue sources.

“The Campaign is based on a calendar year, and we will fully participate in the Campaign through 2014. In 2015, we will continue to encourage our members to make financial contributions to the Campaign for Legal Services, outside of a formal partnership.

“We share the same goal with our Campaign partners of narrowing the gap between the legal needs of the poor and the resources available. The Pro Bono Program’s focus on recruiting, training and sustaining the volunteers who are providing services differs in subtle but important ways from the missions of the other two Campaign agencies, NH Legal Assistance and the Legal Advice & Referral Center, which are staff-driven legal services organizations.

“This decision, fully supported by the NHBA Board of Governors and the board of the Pro Bono Referral Program, opens a new chapter to be written on cooperation among the Bar Association, Pro Bono and the staff-model legal services agencies.”

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