Bar News - February 17, 2016
NH Bar Foundation: William Chapman Named Honorary Fellow
William Chapman, a distinguished lawyer known especially for his work in First Amendment law and representing charitable organizations in property tax cases, has been selected by the NH Bar Foundation as its 2016 Honorary Fellow. Chapman will be honored at the Foundation’s Honorary Fellows Reception at the conclusion of the Bar Association Midyear Meeting on March 4 at the Center of NH/Radisson Hotel in Manchester.
In addition to his outstanding career as a litigator, Chapman has been a committed volunteer and leader in New Hampshire and in the legal community. He was admitted to the NH Bar in 1972, and has practiced with the Orr & Reno law firm for his entire career. Personally and through the firm, Chapman has been a steady and significant contributor to the NH Bar Foundation’s Annual Appeal. He also serves on the board of the Campaign for Legal Services.
“Bill Chapman is not only an excellent lawyer, he is someone who cares deeply about access to justice for all citizens,” said Jack Middleton, Bar Foundation chair.
Chapman said he was especially grateful for the honor. He said supporting civil legal aid has become more important than ever over the years. Access to a lawyer has become increasingly difficult for more and more people who need legal representation.
The impact a lawyer can have in representing a person in need has left him with an indelible memory. Early in his career, Chapman represented a single mother in a dispute with a car dealer over a defective used car. It was around Thanksgiving. “I was able to get her money back. For the fortunate, it might not have seemed like a lot, but when she came to my office and I gave her the check, she was profoundly happy. It made such a difference in her life.”
Chapman, recently honored by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of New Hampshire and a past recipient of the Nackey Loeb First Amendment Award, said he became interested in First Amendment law in the first month of law school, in part due to its application to many different areas of the law. His fascination for First Amendment issues has never waned.
Chapman serves on the NH Supreme Court’s Committee on the Judiciary and the Media, and is a past member of several NH Bar Association Committees. His legal accomplishments include an opinion that bears his name, Petition of Chapman, a 1986 NH Supreme Court decision that protects the First Amendment rights of members who might disagree with legislative positions taken by the unified NH Bar Association. (More information.)
The Fellows Reception also will include the presentation of Justice Grants for various projects and services to advance justice for the vulnerable and disadvantaged or to advance the understanding of the justice system. (The grant awards will be announced later this month.)
Justice Grants are funded from the interest on endowed funds created by donors to the Bar Foundation. The funds are managed by the NH Charitable Foundation.