Bar News - September 20, 2017
October Is Pro Bono Month in New Hampshire
For nearly 40 years, the Pro Bono Referral Program at the NH Bar Association has been matching qualified clients with volunteer attorneys who work for free to secure justice for those New Hampshire citizens who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Last year alone, more than 3,400 clients and children benefited from legal help received through the Pro Bono Referral Program.
Hundreds of New Hampshire lawyers have participated in the Pro Bono program, joining various panels and consistently devoting a portion of their work lives to providing free services for the disadvantaged. Many other attorneys also perform pro bono service through other organized programs or independently, connecting their specialized expertise with the clients and organizations who can most benefit from it.
In New Hampshire, we celebrate Pro Bono Month every October with special events, legal aid clinics, training seminars and an award ceremony to honor an attorney who has gone above and beyond in supporting and providing legal services to the indigent.
It takes dedication and heart and a sincere belief in the ideal of equal justice for all to commit oneself to advocating for needy clients, without the expectation of payment. In the early days of the Pro Bono program and other efforts aimed at offering legal help to the poor in New Hampshire, the late Bruce Friedman, the founder of the civil practice clinic at what is now the University of New Hampshire School of Law, embodied that spirit.
Several years ago, the New Hampshire Bar Association and UNH Law collaboratively established the Bruce E. Friedman Pro Bono Award. This award recognizes a NH Bar member and UNH Law alumnus who demonstrates Friedman’s values and work ethic. Past recipients have included the late Marilyn Billings McNamara, Steve Scudder, Quentin Blaine, Jack Crisp and Cathy Shanelaris. This year’s recipient has not yet been announced (watch the NHBA e-Bulletin newsletter for more information), but an award ceremony has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the atrium at UNH Law in Concord. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
Other Pro Bono Month events include the popular annual three-part Divorce Camp seminar, a special DOVE Project presentation for the Inns of Court, a UNH Law student Pro Bono case referral marathon, and criminal record annulment clinics in Rochester and Keene. Pro Bono staff will also participate in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a benefit for the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire, to show support for those working across the state to assist victims of domestic violence.
For more information about the Pro Bono Referral Program at the NHBA and how you can get involved, please visit www.nhbar.org or contact Margaret Gilsenberg.
Pro Bono’s Divorce Camp
Divorce Camp is a three-part series of training sessions in family law, led by experienced attorneys and featuring practical knowledge and simulations. This popular program is back for 2017 and has limited enrollment space, so sign up now before it’s too late.
Three Mondays in October
Oct. 23 - Session I
Oct. 30 - Session II
Nov. 6 - Session III
NH Bar Center in Concord
Learn how to handle a New Hampshire divorce from first appearance to final orders, including a mock hearing and client interview. Get tips on working with clients, parenting plans, alimony, mediation, mandatory disclosures and more. Past participants have called Divorce Camp “extremely worthwhile,” “vey helpful and informative,” and “a good crash course on the basics” of family law.
Please contact Margaret Gilsenberg, (603) 715-3234 for more information and to register.