Bar News - June 15, 2016
Getting Personal: MyNHBAR Launches
By: Dan Wise
Hundreds of NH Bar members have already taken advantage of the association’s new online member dashboard, MyNHBAR, to quickly and efficiently complete their annual licensure renewal obligations.
“Just paid my dues and filed my [trust accounting] form in under five minutes! That was SUPER easy,” commented one attorney. “Smooth and painless,” wrote another.
At launch, all members saw red as the web page was dominated by colored bars, each representing the members’ compliance status on the major steps for renewal – mandatory NHBA dues and, for most members, NH Supreme Court fees, minimum continuing legal education credit reporting and the annual trust account compliance certification. Red turns to green for users, once the steps are completed (although not instantly – up to two business days are needed for the online filings to be posted to the member dashboard).
Each year, the NH Bar Association has taken measured steps toward modernizing the paper-based process of attorney license renewal. First, there was invoicing via email and online payment, and, last year, the launch of the Attorney Reporting Tool (ART), which gave members an online portal to report and track their progress toward meeting the minimum continuing legal education requirement.
This year, a giant step forward – as the MyNHBAR dashboard and the development of an online Trust Account Compliance form enabled all of the renewal steps to be completed without paper or postage. The development of the personalized member portal took place in conjunction with several rule changes approved by the NH Supreme Court to synchronize a patchwork of annual deadlines for various rules related to attorney licensure.
“We wanted to create an online tool for the Trust Account Certification process required by Rule 50 and give members online access to verify they had completed all of their license renewal steps,” said NHBA Executive Director Jeannine McCoy. “Last August, the Court challenged the Association to ‘do whatever it takes’ to consolidate deadlines and raise member awareness about them, all in time for July 1, 2016. Through hard work, creativity and collaboration, the Association, Court, and Attorney Discipline Office staff met the challenge.
“For some members, this is a first introduction to the Association website and a bit of the ‘e-future,’ and the staff have been wonderful in helping those in ‘e-shock,’” she added.
The package of rule changes and launch of the member dashboard were preceded by an intensive information effort labeled “3-1-1: 3 Steps, 1 Deadline, 1 Place.” Articles in Bar News, emails, a membership-wide mailing, statements by NH Supreme Court Chief Justice Linda Stewart Dalianis, and a series of workshops and video replays previewed the changes to come. Paula Lewis, NHBA director of finance and information technology, also conferred with law firm administrators to enable them to consolidate payment and filing steps for multiple attorneys.
Following the distribution of the annual renewal correspondence on June 1, NHBA staff personally answered calls and emails to assist members with the added step of upgrading to a more secure password regimen and to answer other questions. Lewis reported that supplying information to members has been a gratifying experience. Once members’ questions were answered, the website portal performed flawlessly.
MyNHBAR will be useful for members for much more than annual license renewal, however. The personalized, secure member portal already provides members with information about their section and committee participation, enables them to request a letter of “good standing,” and access official correspondence and billing statements, such as payments for section dues or CLE invoices. The dashboard also offers expedited access to the member directory and Casemaker – the two most popular member features of www.nhbar.org, as well as other member benefits and services.
Future enhancements to MyNHBAR will include the ability to submit address and contact information changes and requests for status changes. MyNHBAR also provides a foundation for a more personalized experience for using www.nhbar.org. The entire website is being redeveloped and streamlined to focus on the tasks and resources bar members use most, along with personalization features that will deliver news and information based on topics specified by members.