NHWBA: about us

Our History

The New Hampshire Women's Bar Association (NHWBA), New Hampshire's first statewide women's bar association, was incorporated in May 1998 by Maureen Raiche Manning, Jennifer L. Parent, Joy V. Riddell, Claudia C. Damon, and Julie Introcaso. Incorporation followed closely on the heels of the Hillsborough County Women's Bar Association program entitled "Why Have a Statewide Women's Bar Association in New Hampshire?," which was presented by Ellen Kearns of the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts in February 1998. Women attorneys throughout New Hampshire were invited to voice their opinions on whether the women county bar groups should join to establish a statewide women's bar association. The consensus was overwhelming and piloted what is now the NHWBA.

On October 1, 1998, the NHWBA held its inaugural Fall Reception in Concord, New Hampshire, inviting attorneys throughout the state to an open house. An Annual Fall Reception has been held in Concord every October thereafter. During its first year, the NHWBA signed over 200 members.

In Spring 2008, we celebrated our 10th anniversary with a gala dinner celebrating women trailblazers in the law.  Our five trailblazer award recipients were:  Maureen Raiche Manning, the first president of the NHWBA and a leader on the issues of gender equality in the legal profession; Judge Jean K. Burling, the first female judge in New Hampshire; Justice Linda S. Dalianis, the first female justice to sit on the New Hampshire Supreme Court; Kelly A. Ayotte, the first female Attorney General; and Jennifer L. Parent, the second president of the NHWBA, a highly visible member of the state bar and a mentor to many young attorneys in this state.

In May, 2013, we held our 15th Anniversary Celebration at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH.  Pamela E. Berman, President of the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations and Jennifer L. Parent, the second president of the NHWBA, were our featured guests and speakers.  

Recognition of Women Leaders

In 2000, the NHWBA created the Marilla M. Ricker Achievement Award. The Award is presented at the Annual Fall Reception to women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence, or paved the way to success for other women lawyers, or advanced opportunities for women in the legal profession, or performed exemplary public service on behalf of women.

Education

The NHWBA holds an annual Developments in Family Law CLE as well as educational seminars on a number of relevant topics, including trial skills, estate planning and electronic discovery. In November 2009, we partnered with the American Bar Association's Health Law Section to hold a breast cancer legal advocacy CLE, which was the first time that this national program was offered in northern New England.

In addition to local seminars, the NHWBA has provided a stipend for three members to attend the ABA’s Women in Law Leadership Academy (“WILL Academy”) in Chicago for the past several years.

Speakers

The NHWBA has hosted forums with some of the most prominent speakers in the legal and business community today, including:

  • Hilary Mantis, author and researcher whose work concerns alternative careers for lawyers. Two of her publications are available to borrow from our lending library.
  • Mona Harrington of the MIT Workplace Center, Sloan School of Management, and author of Care and Equality: A New Family Politics. Holly English and a panel of New Hampshire lawyers and judges held a panel discussion on gender issues in June, 2004. Ms. English is the author of Gender on Trial: Sexual Stereotypes and Work/Life Balance in the Legal Workplace. The panel discussed subtle gender problems and their subtle solutions.
  • Wayne N. Outten of Outten & Golden, LLP in New York. Mr. Outten represented Allison Schieffelin, lead plaintiff in a gender discrimination class action lawsuit against Morgan Stanley. Schieffelin was a Wall Street bond seller who was fired from her position when she complained that she was unlawfully denied a promotion. The case was settled for $54 million.
  • Dr. Ellen Ostrow, a nationally renowned attorney work-life balance expert, and author of a popular electronic newsletter called “Beyond the Billable Hour.” Dr. Ostrow conducted a series of six "virtual coaching sessions," which were offered free of charge to our members to help them with strategic career planning.
  • Lauren Stiller Rikleen, author of Ending the Gauntlet: Removing Barriers to Women’s Success in the Law, a book which is highly acclaimed for its thoughtful insights about the management of today’s law firms and the related institutional impediments to the retention and advancement of women in the legal profession.
  • Evelyn Murphy, a Ph.D. economist, former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, the Founder and President of The WAGE Project, Inc., and Resident Scholar in the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, where she researched and authored a book with E.J. Graff on the gender wage gap entitled Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men and What To Do About It.
  • Kristine Huskey, adjunct professor at the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, who represented Omar Khadr, the young Canadian citizen detained at Guantanamo and charged with war crimes under The Military Commissions Act of 2006. Professor Huskey also represented the Guantanamo detainees in Rasul v. Bush, which went before the Supreme Court in 2004 and won the right of the detainees to challenge their detentions in federal court.
  • Cecie Hartigan, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lawyers' Assistance Program (NHLAP), and others involved with the NHLAP to discuss substance abuse and depression among lawyers.

Networking

The NHWBA routinely holds informal networking events around the state. Members gather for breakfast, lunch or after work hours to share each other's company and discuss concerns, problems, and business opportunities. Those interested should contact their county representatives.  We also host a golf clinic for beginning golfers each spring and hold a work/stress relief clinic each March.

Public Service

Our members volunteer at pro bono marathons, calling attorneys throughout the state to assist with the backlog of cases. The organization has also sponsored a golf tournament to raise money for the New Hampshire Bar Association Pro Bono Program. We have supported the annual silent auction in connection with the University of New Hampshire School of Law to provide funds for law students to work at public interest law jobs during the summer. We have also raised money and collected supplies for local organizations, such as the N.H. Food Bank and the YWCA. In 2008, we made a donation to the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Women to aid in the publishing of the latest edition of its legal handbook for women, one of the most comprehensive guides on the New Hampshire laws that most affect women.