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Bar News - July 20, 2016

Bar Governance: Access to Justice Commission Members Visit Bar Board


Richard Uchida and Gordon MacDonald, members of the New Hampshire Access to Justice Commission, attended the NH Bar Association Board of Governors meeting June 16 in Portsmouth to get input on a number of proposed initiatives.

A steering committee, chaired by Circuit Court Chief Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly, has proposed a slate of 24 initiatives to be rolled out over the next two years to expand the participation of attorneys in volunteering their services and assisting the tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents who represent themselves in court each year. Uchida and MacDonald discussed the work so far to develop the recommendations, with the goals of coordinating resources and avoiding duplication of services. (For more information, read the commentary by Judge Kelly.)

A meeting of the full Access to Justice Commission to discuss the recommendations was scheduled for Thursday, July 14 (look for coverage in the August issue of Bar News).

Although generally supportive of the commissionís efforts, members of the Board shared concerns about the emphasis on volunteerism by the private bar while expressing a desire that the association to partner with the courts to address some of the related issues.

Uchida also spoke to the board about the NHBA Leadership Academy and urged board members to refer applicants to the program, which has benefitted several classes of attorneys since its inception.

Ginny Martin, director of legal services at the NHBA, told the board about the new ABA Virtual Pro Bono program, which the NHBA Pro Bono Board has voted to adopt. Modeled after a similar program created in Tennessee, Virtual Pro Bono allows lawyers to log on to a website and select from legal questions posted by the public to answer anonymously and at their convenience. The board was supportive but asked for more information about applicable rules and insurance coverage.

The board continued its discussion about the results of the recent member survey and plans for the Aug. 18 board orientation, to acclimate new members, review feedback about the survey and plan for the upcoming Bar year.

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