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Bar News - April 15, 2015

Section Connection: Section Meetings Feature Legislation Briefings

Anna Zimmerman, John MacIntosh and Honey Hastings give family law section members and update on pending legislation at a meeting in March at the Common Man in Concord.
This year, more than 800 bills were introduced in the NH House and Senate. A few dozen survive the deliberation process, which includes committee hearings, deliberative sessions, and floor votes.

The Bar Association’s Legislation Committee and John MacIntosh, a lawyer who works on a partial year contract to represent the Bar Association in the Legislature, are sometimes hard-pressed to keep up with all of the bills of potential interest to various elements of the NH legal community. The sections often play a key role in providing informed comment on particular legislation – sometimes bringing bills to the attention of the legislation committee, or vice versa.

At its April 1 meeting, the Elder Law, Probate and Estate Planning Section hosted MacIntosh and Senator (and Bar member) Dan Feltes. MacIntosh sought input on several pending bills, including SB188, a lengthy bill, which has already passed the Senate with bipartisan sponsorship. The bill proposes numerous revisions to state laws regarding banks, credit unions and trust companies. Section Chair Tina Annis said MacIntosh’s briefing provoked a lively discussion on a bill that she wasn’t previously aware of. In prior years, however, section members have identified bills of interest to the practice area and alerted the bar association to either the merits or unintended consequences of the proposed legislation.

In late March, MacIntosh, along with Honey Hastings and Anna Zimmerman, also briefed the Family Law Section on a handful of bills relevant to that practice area.

Although sections often have an intense interest in particular bills, their role in advocacy is indirect as they are not empowered to take positions on legislation. The Bar Association, following guidelines on advocacy by a unified bar laid down in the Chapman decision, only takes official positions in support or opposition to legislation through votes by the Board of Governors, usually based on screening and vetting conducted by the association’s Legislation Committee.

All Bar members can view legislation that is being tracked by the Legislation Committee. Look for the Legislation Watch website in the For Members area at

Highlights of Section Calendar

Friday, May 8 – Federal Practice Section receives an update on US District Court local rules for the District of New Hampshire. In addition to this 90-minute CLE, the section will hold its annual election of officers. The meeting begins at 3 p.m. at the Rudman Courthouse. Registration required. Contact NHBA Registrar Cheryl Moore to sign up.

Monday, May 18 – The Intellectual Property Law Section holds a dinner and a 60-minute CLE program “Seven Years after KSR – the Federal Circuit Test for Patent Non-obviousness.” The section also will hold officer elections. Section members should contact Cheryl Moore by May 13 to register.

Reminder: Leaders Wanted

Every section must hold elections for new officers this year. Please consider stepping up to leadership. Section leadership is rewarding. Officers help drive section activities and benefit from making new connections as well as giving back to the profession.

Positions include chair, vice chair, and clerk, and the term of office is June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016. Section members will be informed of nomination details and election information in their section meeting notices. Or contact Section Coordinator Patty Frechette for information.

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