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Bar News - March 16, 2016

Bar Governance: President-Elect to Fill Vacancy in Bar Presidency for FY16-17

David Ruoff has resigned his position as president-elect of the NH Bar Association following his confirmation to the New Hampshire Superior Court bench last month.

Ruoff, who served two years as an officer on the NH Bar Association Board of Governors, was slated to succeed Mary Tenn as president of the association at the 2016 Annual Meeting in June. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the NH Bar Association’s Constitution (Article IV, Section 2) prescribes that “the president-elect shall perform the duties of the office of president during the unexpired term without vacating the office of president-elect.”

Next in line in association leadership is NHBA Vice President Scott Harris, who is unopposed as the board’s nominee for president-elect in the association election scheduled to begin April 1 (see the full slate of election candidates). The new board members usually take office following the NHBA Annual Meeting, which this year is scheduled for June 17 in Portsmouth.

At the Board of Governors meeting March 3, Tenn, the current association president, who will remain on the board as immediate past president, said she and the other officers have agreed to assist Harris, the president-elect, in presiding over meetings and addressing other duties of the president for the coming Bar Association year. “I think I speak for the whole board when I say we will miss David’s insights, ideas and energy in our meetings,” Tenn said. “We wish him well and know he will make a superb judge.”

“The happy occasion of David Ruoff’s appointment to the judiciary has created a challenge, and the Association’s leadership is prepared to meet it,” said Jeannine McCoy, NHBA executive director. “A hallmark of Bar leadership throughout the years has been maintaining continuity from one Bar president to the next. This spirit of teamwork among the volunteer leaders will enable us to keep the Bar Association on course through this transitional year.”

Also at its March 3 meeting, which was held in Manchester the night before the Midyear Meeting, the board approved the revised NHBA Litigation Guidelines. The aspirational guidelines were revised following the Bench Bar Conference last year, to reflect changes in technology since the guidelines were last adopted in 1999. Jennifer Parent, chair of the NHBA Committee on Cooperation with the Courts, presented the revised guidelines to the board. The new guidelines will be distributed widely to bar members through various channels over the coming months.

The board also invited NHBA Public Sector Law Section Chair Scott Eaton to the meeting to discuss the future of the substantive law section, which has struggled to engage its small membership in meaningful activities or events. “The central problem for me as chair has been to have people have enough interest to show up at meetings,” Eaton said.

Chris Marshall, who occupies a seat on the board that represents public sector lawyers, said that by refocusing the goals and activities of the section, the association may be able to energize public sector lawyers to become more involved. The relationship between public sector lawyers and bar associations has historically been strained across the country, Marshall said, and efforts to reinvigorate the Public Sector Law Section might help.

Harris, the association’s vice president, agreed and said he would work with Eaton, Marshall and others to chart a new course for the section. “I think it’s critical that we figure out how we create value to the public sector, because it’s over a quarter of the membership of this Bar.”

In other action, the board accepted the recommendation to hire O’Connor & Drew of Braintree, Mass., as the association’s auditing firm.

The board is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, April 21, in Concord.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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