Bar News - February 19, 2014
Leadership Academy: Service Project Offers Chance to Collaborate
By: David Tencza
The NH Bar Association Leadership Academy is a professional development and leadership skills program tailored specifically to lawyers. Starting in 2010, select applicants who have been practicing between three and 10 years have joined three successive classes of Leadership Academy graduates. The program aims to identify, inspire and instruct attorneys, helping them to become confident leaders of their profession and their communities.
The next Leadership Academy class will be admitted in September 2014. Until then, some graduates are taking to the pages of Bar News to reflect on their Leadership Academy experiences. Learn more at www.nhbar.org.
The most valuable part of the Leadership Academy for me was meeting and working with other young lawyers from across the state. I found that the talent of young lawyers in New Hampshire goes well beyond their legal skills.
I’m fortunate in my practice to interact with other young lawyers on a regular basis. But, working with people during the course of litigation is different from working collaboratively with people and getting to know them personally. At a time when young lawyers don’t have as many opportunities to get to know each other as they may have had in the past, the Leadership Academy provides an opportunity to expand your professional network in a meaningful way. I found that there was a lot I could learn from other younger attorneys about their practice and experience that was different from the experiences of older attorneys.
In particular, I really enjoyed working with other participants on the group project to benefit the public and the legal profession. Our group put together the first “Battle of the Lawyers” in New Hampshire to benefit the Campaign for Legal Services. This project highlighted the profession in a positive way, showcasing some of the best trial attorneys in the state. It also gave young lawyers, students and the general public, who may have never seen an actual trial, a chance to learn from some of the most talented lawyers in New Hampshire. Most importantly, we brought more attention to a critical need for legal services among poor and low-income residents of the state.
Working on this project and seeing what the other groups were able to accomplish with their Leadership Academy projects really demonstrated to me the depth of commitment young lawyers have to the community and our profession.
Editor’s Note: Battle of the Lawyers raised $5,000 for the Campaign for Legal Services in 2011. In 2012, the New Lawyers Committee organized a new version of the program, benefiting the Pro Bono Referral Program. Other service projects have included developing curricula for A Lawyer and Judge in Every School, a program of legal information and mentoring advice offered to youths in the foster care system as they turn 18 (also subsequently adopted by the New Lawyers Committee) and a series of one-hour CLE webcasts on basic practice topics.
David Tencza is a prosecutor in the Nashua courts, working for the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office. In 2012, he was elected to the NH Bar Association’s Board of Governors, representing Hillsborough County (Southern District).