Bar News - April 20, 2016
Morning Mail: Some Praise for the 2016 NHBA Midyear Meeting
If you did not go to the Midwinter Bar Meeting and attend the morning and afternoon CLEs this year, you really missed something. The presentations were really eye-opening. It was good to hear Dean Andrew Perlman from Suffolk University Law School and William Hubbard, the immediate past president of the American Bar Association, actually talk about money and finances in the morning panel, and to have that subject discussed in the afternoon panel as well.
Issues surrounding the affordability of legal services, as well as alternatives to what we view as the accepted way of dealing with legal problems, were addressed. The discussion implicated one of the most significant issues facing the legal profession now, which is the astronomical debt many recent law school graduates bring with them, the difficulty many of them have in finding a job, and the difficulty all have in paying off the debt.
Equally eye-opening for someone like myself, who generally views the NH Supreme Court’s primary function as being the law-giver here in the state, to direct those of us practicing law, was the address by NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Dalianis, explaining recent changes and innovations in progress in the court system and new changes envisioned in the very near future. As Ed Boutin commented from the audience: “Wow!” The presentation brought with it the realization of the amount of time that our Supreme Court and especially our chief justice devotes to overseeing the court system and directing its future.
The afternoon panel included John Suh, the president and CEO of LegalZoom; Nicholas Reed, cofounder of Ravel Law; Colin Rule of Modria.com and Chief Judge Joseph LaPlante from the US District Court in Concord, moderating the varied responses from the audience, many members of which perceived a threat to the profession from a very quickly evolving world of technology inserting itself into the resolution of legal disputes and the practice of law. No one left that CLE without recognizing what dramatic changes may occur to the legal world, if not in my lifetime, certainly in the lifetimes of those recent graduates with that staggering law school debt.
The address from Suh, of LegalZoom, was especially enlightening, because of the presentation he made, which was not at all confrontational (as was true for all of the speakers) and addressed law-related matters from a global business viewpoint, which many of us have been somewhat slow to recognize and confront.
Finally, thanks to Mary Tenn, our Bar president, for bringing us what I would describe as the best NH Bar Association Midyear Meeting I have ever attended. Mary, all of your hard work paid off spectacularly! Thank you.
R. David DePuy