Bar News - December 17, 2014
President's Perspective: Time at the Bar (Center) Is Time Well Spent
By: Lisa Wellman-Ally
Itís a long road from Claremont to Concord. Or is it? A lot of people have asked me why I decided to become president of the New Hampshire Bar Association. They wonder how it is I can run a solo practice and devote so much time to the association. They also wonder how I do it while commuting from Claremont. Well, itís not easy, but I do it because I care.
Iíve talked about being a community lawyer and its importance. To me, serving the NHBA is just another way that I can support my profession and my community of lawyers. When I moved here from New York City, I was afraid that I would become isolated, living and working in a small town. After all, I was used to the hustle and bustle of the big city. Someone suggested that I become the Sullivan County governor on the NHBA Board of Governors, which I did back in 2004. So, for the past 10 years, I have a bar groupie, and Iím proud of it.
There are so many ways that attorneys can give back to their profession. Service through the NH Bar is just one of them. The county governors bring regional perspective, highlighting issues in their own counties, which may differ from issues elsewhere. Other special governors, such as those from the public service sector and the new out-of-state governor, provide additional perspective and voice the concerns of their own constituencies. By giving voice to members in all aspects of our profession, the NHBAR attempts to hear and address these concerns.
However, we must remember that we canít be all things to all people, but we certainly try. One of things that drew me to becoming president of our association was the chance to provide the viewpoint of a solo practice attorney working in a rural area.
About 80 percent of our membership consists of attorneys practicing in small and solo firms. So, why shouldnít they have a voice for a change? It also has enabled me to remind others that just because they donít practice in Manchester or Concord, it does not mean they donít have a vibrant and stimulating practice. And, as I have said before, being part of a small town has its own rewards.
For those of you who think you donít have time for bar service, let me just say that you do. The time spent on attending meetings and other bar-related activities is time well spent. I encourage everyone to participate in a section, committee or even the Board of Governors. Your insight and opinion matters and we welcome new volunteers.