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Bar News - May 23, 2008

Ginny Martin, Pro Bono Director Receives National Award

Ginny Martin of the NHBA Pro Bono Program, center, accepts Pro Bono Professional award from ABA President William Neukom and Brenda Schexnider of the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals at the Equal Justice Conference in Minneapolis. (Photo: Jane Ribadeneyra of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association).

Virginia "Ginny" Martin, NH Bar Association Associate Executive Director for Legal Services was presented May 8 with the Tanya Neiman Pro Bono Manager of the Year Award at the National Equal Justice Conference in Minneapolis.

In his remarks presenting the award to Martin, ABA President William Neukom said: "Pro bono program directors routinely have to endure and overcome the negatives and have the tenacity to find ways to open the doors of justice. The individual being recognized today is never discouraged or disheartened; when others put up roadblocks this person finds a way to get things done. The recipient is a great motivator, a creative problem solver and a dynamic leader for justice.

"The recipientís pro bono program is well known for its innovative approaches to meeting client needs, for involving volunteer attorneys and for being a collaborative partner with the other legal services programs in the state. Attorneys who accept cases from the recipientís program do so with confidence that they will have the support they need to assist a client in a manner that best utilizes their time and resources.

Neukom said Martinís "commitment, talents and abilities are legendary in her home state. Letters of support from the Chief Justice, program board members, bar leaders and program staff highlighted this individualís creativity, hard work and absolute dedication to meeting the legal needs of the poor."

In his letter of support, Chief Justice John T. Broderick, Jr., wrote: "I have never known anyone as professionally dedicated to pro bono work as Ginny Martin. "It would be both a high honor and a well-deserved recognition if she were a recipient of the Pro Bono Professional of the Year Award."

Thirty-six pages of material recounting and praising her work were submitted to the award committee, including letters from Chief Justice Broderick and Associate Justice James Duggan, co-chair of the NH Access to Justice Commission, as well as John Norton, Chair of the Pro Bono Governing Board, other volunteer leaders and executives of the NH Bar Foundation and various legal services agencies in NH. In addition, a glowing letter of recommendation from the NHBA legal services staff of six helped bring Martinís activities into focus. "Ginny is a pioneer in developing innovative programs to reach many of the most vulnerable members in our state," they wrote.

Martin, the first non-lawyer to direct the Barís legal services programs, took over leadership of the Pro Bono program in 1996, after working for several years at NH Legal Assistance in developing grants. Previously, she worked for the Bar Association as editor of Law Weekly, the predecessor of the Bar News.

The award is named in honor of Tanya Neiman, Director of the Bar Association of San Franciscoís Volunteer Legal Services Program until her passing in 2006.

"Ginny is one of the best friends those who need civil legal services, and the lawyers who are willing to help them when they cannot afford those services, could have. Far from being daunted, or even discouraged, by challenging odds, Ginny inspires us all with her energy, innovation, and pure humanity. Heretofore, she has been an unsung hero of the justice system."

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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