Bar News - February 17, 2016
Bar Governance: NH Bar Board Discusses Proposed ABA Resolution
By: Kristen Senz
The NH Bar Association Board of Governors last month deferred a decision on whether to support a proposed ABA resolution suggesting regulatory objectives to guide courts in addressing existing regulatory framework and other regulations they may choose to develop concerning non-traditional legal service providers; the resolution is neutral to the concepts of alternative business structures and fee-splitting.
After discussion, some Board members said they did not want to vote on the NHBA’s position relative to the resolution without hearing from constituents first. The topic of non-lawyers performing legal services is part of the agenda for the two sold-out NHBA Midyear Meeting CLE programs on March 4.
Russell Hilliard, state delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, discussed the proposed ABA Resolution 105, which passed with amendment at the ABA Midyear Meeting in San Diego, Calif., earlier this month after about two hours of debate (see article, page 8). The resolution only offers guidelines in the event that states seek to pursue a system in which, for example, limited-license legal technicians can perform certain legal services tasks, as some states have already done. The Resolution was an effort on the part of the ABA to weigh in, rather than remain silent on these issues.
The ABA was asking state bars to consider supporting the resolution. Some board members voiced concern about the perception that supporting the resolution meant the Board supported the idea of establishing such a system. The board voted to hold off on voting until after the NHBA Midyear Meeting, which would provide an opportunity for broader discussions with NHBA members about the future of the legal profession.
Also at the board’s Jan. 21 meeting, the board accepted all but one of the recommendations of the NHBA Legislation Committee relative to positions and information to convey to the NH Legislature on bills introduced this session (see related article).
The board also voted to accept a recommendation from the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts to accept the committee’s single revision to the NHBA Professionalism Creed – the addition of the word “parties,” which was designed to make the creed more inclusive of self-represented litigants.
The board is scheduled to meet again Wednesday, March 3, in Manchester.