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Bar News - October 18, 2017


Section Connection: Family Law Section Hosts ‘Meet the Judges’ Event

By:

From left, Judge Jennifer Lemire from Dover, Judge Elizabeth Leonard from Derry, Judge Kimberly Chabot from Manchester and Plymouth, and Master Thomas Cooper from Concord and Salem, addressed questions from family law lawyers at a gathering of the NH Bar Association Family Law Section on Sept. 14 at the Common Man Restaurant in Concord.

There was standing room only as the NHBA’s Family Law Section and guests packed the function room of the Common Man for the first Annual “Meet the Judges” meeting to ask questions of four members of the judiciary: Judge Elizabeth Leonard from Derry, Judge Jennifer Lemire from Dover, Judge Kimberly Chabot from Manchester and Plymouth, and Master Thomas Cooper from Concord and Salem.

The members of the judiciary addressed questions and concerns from practitioners and provided tips and guidance on a variety of practice topics. All panel members agreed that the presence of attorneys in family division is immensely helpful to judges in presiding over hearings, even if only one side has representation. The panel further concurred that open communication between parties and counsel is crucial to resolving cases and ensuring that agreements and expectations are understood. One of the panelists specifically vocalized that it is appreciated when counsel and parties discuss the case before a hearing to avoid both confusion, and surprises.

The panel members came to several more points of concurrence: attorneys must endeavor to maintain civility and fairness when working with a pro se opposing party; proposed findings of fact and rulings of law are most helpful when done simply, and not as simply extension of one’s argument; and the importance of being friendly, polite, and respectful during interactions with the Clerks practitioners, whether new or seasoned, should be polite and civil with the clerk’s offices. Judicial officers differed slightly in their approach to discovery rules and different font or stylistic choices for filings. The panel also shared information regarding the return of the neutral case evaluation program, and the success it has had in alleviating scheduling problems and resolving cases.

Overall, it was an excellent and informative evening with a lively discussion. The next meeting of the Family Law Section will be Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 at the NH Bar Center, 2 Pillsbury St., in Concord, NH.


Petar Leonard

Petar Leonard is an attorney at Pastori Krans in Concord and serves as chair of the NH Bar Association Family Law Section.

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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