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Bar News - May 20, 2015

Morning Mail: Judge Cushing: Everything a Judge Should Be

It was with great sadness that I read recently of the passing of the Honorable Donald W. Cushing. When I came to the bar in New Hampshire in 1987, Judge Cushing was serving on the Merrimack County Probate Court.

My New Hampshire mentor, Donald J. Pfundstein, suggested that I apply to serve as a court-appointed lawyer, defending individuals who were parties to involuntary commitment proceedings, all of which were venued in Merrimack County Probate Court. Within a day or two of being admitted to the Bar, I appeared in front of Judge Cushing. He was everything a judge should be. Patient. Knowledgable. Respectful. Disciplined. Quietly humorous. Tough when he needed to be. Compassionate otherwise. He was the first judge that ever had to put me in my place Ė and he did. But he was also the first to welcome me to the practice of law, and to teach me how to conduct myself as a professional in a courtroom.

It doesnít surprise me that he served in World War II. He had that gravitas. Although I left New Hampshire 25 years ago, I thought about Judge Cushing now and again throughout the years Iíve been practicing in Pennsylvania. Heís the standard by which Iíve measured every judge since. New Hampshire has lost somebody very special. His family will probably never know the influence he had on those of us who were privileged to appear in his courtoom all those years ago.

Louis C. Schmitt Jr.
Altoona, PA

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