Bar News Masthead

Annual Fundraising Event to be held Wednesday, May 26

By Scott Merrill

 

The past year has proved to be a turning point for New Hampshire’s legal services community and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation is helping to lead the charge.

On May 26, 2021, the Bar Foundation will launch its annual fundraising efforts with the theme Powering Justice – Propelling Change.

As the charitable arm of the New Hampshire Bar Association and the philanthropic choice for many New Hampshire lawyers, the Bar Foundation’s work this year will focus on three major initiatives — a state-wide Diversity and Inclusion Project, the Moose on the Loose Teachers Guide on Civics Education, and supporting the newly formed 603 Legal Aid Call center and website.

“Each of these efforts highlight the important role lawyers fill in our community as a force for good and as advocates for justice,” said Chair of the NH Bar Foundation, James J. Tenn, Jr.

Consistent with the Foundation’s mission of identifying emerging justice-related issues, the Foundation has partnered with Parker Analytics, a nationally recognized leader in survey and performance analysis. Parker will conduct a state-wide survey of Bar Members to assess the status of diversity and inclusion for the benefit of the legal profession, the justice system, and clients.

“This is an exciting and timely project for the Foundation, and positions New Hampshire lawyers to be at the forefront of thought and action – based on data – on this critical issue for the legal profession and the people we serve,” Tenn said. “The survey will benefit New Hampshire statewide. While focused on legal community it will have a broad impact for private law firms, the court system, as well as purchasers of legal services. It’s going to be of interest in terms of what we shape moving forward.”

The Foundation will also continue work to enhance civics education for all ages.

This year’s effort will focus on support for the ‘Moose on the Loose’ project in partnership with the NH Historical Society. A uniquely New Hampshire approach to Civics, Tenn says, “‘Moose on the Loose’ provides important content standards for the study of history, civics, economics and geography that will prepare the State’s students to function as fully participating citizens who will enhance the State’s economy and quality of life.”

Another targeted goal for the Foundation this year is to raise funds that will assist in the buildout of 603 Legal Aid’s call center and website capabilities.

“With emergency orders ending, and the economy increasingly becoming post-pandemic, all signs point toward the increased legal needs of citizens without the ability to pay for a lawyer,” New Hampshire Bar Association Executive Director, George Moore, said.

“The new call center is designed to provide all the intake for New Hampshire Legal Assistance as well as 603 Legal Aid, and the Bar Foundation is committed to raising the money necessary to make this goal a reality.”

The 603 Call center “brings together the talent and dedication of the New Hampshire Bar’s Pro Bono program and the Legal Advice and Referral Center,” Tenn added. “The Foundation is proud to support the call center in what promises to be a state-of-the-art single point of access for those in need.”

 

A History of Funding Legal

Services and More

Since 1982, The Bar Foundation has been a steward of the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.

IOLTA is a method of raising money for charitable purposes, primarily the provision of civil legal services to indigent persons.

The establishment of IOLTA in the United States followed changes to federal banking laws passed by Congress in 1980, which allowed some checking accounts to bear interest. Prior to 1981 lawyers were required to place money from their clients in a non-interest-bearing account.

IOLTA programs currently operate in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In fiscal year 2019-2020, the Bar Foundation awarded grants totaling $950,000 to civil legal services programs raised from an IOLTA program.

Jack Middleton, senior member of McLane Middleton’s Litigation Department, played a pivitol role in brining the IOLTA program to New Hampshire in the early 80s.

It was at a conference for the association of Bar delegates over forty years ago where Middleton says he first heard about IOLTA accounts from the Chief Justice of Florida.

“Frankly it sounded very good to me and I thought New Hampshire could benefit from a program like that,” Middleton says. “That IOLTA program has been enormously helpful for New Hampshire citizens. It has raised well over $30 million for those in need of legal services.”

As part of the Foundation’s tradition of resource development and management, the Foundation supports the IOLTA grants program, and also contributes to the Bar Foundation’s endowed Justice Funds in support of Justice Grants, provides planned giving opportunities for donors, encourages organizational development and coordination among legal aid agencies, and communicates funding needs to donors and others committed to ensuring meaningful access to the justice for New Hampshire residents.

 

Supporting a Dynamic Agenda

“For our attorney donors, we have a simple ask – give one billable hour,” Moore said.  “Of course, we would welcome donations in excess of one billable hour, but if more and more attorneys pledged that one hour of their billable time to the betterment of the New Hampshire legal system the goals will be met.”

The Foundation’s dynamic agenda this year, Tenn says, “highlights the many ways New Hampshire lawyers contribute their time, talent and treasure to the justice system  through research, education and philanthropic support of varied but important causes.”

The Bar Foundation’s kick-off event Powering Justice-Propelling Change will be held virtually on May 26. For more information about how to contribute time or money please contact Associcate Executive Director of the Bar Foundation, Anna Gleason, at agleason@nhbar.org.