I was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar today. It’s pretty cool, in my opinion, for a few different reasons.
First, it’s going to let us help our Massachusetts clients better. We have many Massachusetts clients that own homes in New Hampshire, and being able to practice seamlessly in both jurisdictions makes things much smoother. There’s no issue about conflicting documents, or having to hire separate New Hampshire counsel.
Second, it allows us to help a whole new group of people. We will be able to assist clients that are New Hampshire residents with their estate planning and elder law issues. Although we expect to serve mostly southern New Hampshire, our Touchless Legal Services really allows us to help all New Hampshire residents, regardless of geography. We are able to do complete estate plans from start to finish, using video technology, without requiring the client to ever set foot in the office if they don’t want to.
Speaking of video technology, I think that the coolest part of the New Hampshire admission ceremony is that it was done over Zoom. I was able to be sworn in, from my office, without having to drive to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. While it was clear that the Clerk of Courts and the presiding Justices were sorry that we were not able to have the ceremony in person, I really did appreciate being able to do this from my office. The presiding justice made a remark that it was the first time he had to ask the candidates “to un-mute” so they could take the oath. The comment was met with laughter, but I was thinking that “it shouldn’t be the last time”.
It’s different for new lawyers. When I was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar 20 years ago, I appreciated going to Fanueil Hall in Boston for my ceremony. I was 25 years old, still basically a newlywed, and it was a big deal. Had this been my first go-round, I wouldn’t have wanted to do the ceremony by video. It was too big a milestone. At the same time, I was not a practicing lawyer yet, and I had the available time to go to Boston for the in-person event.
But today, with the convenience of video technology, it was really awesome to do this by video. Twenty years later, things are different. I am no longer a newlywed (Jill and I celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary this year!) and I run a law firm with 4 full-time employees. I have already had another swearing-in ceremony (I was sworn-in to the New York Bar in 2014) and this makes New Hampshire my third jurisdiction for my practice. I don’t want to diminish it – being admitted to New Hampshire is a huge honor, and I take my oath and responsibility very seriously. But given the choice, the video ceremony would be my preference.
I didn’t have to take the day off to travel the New Hampshire. Don’t get me wrong – my staff is the absolute best, and they could have easily run the place while I drove to New Hampshire for the ceremony. But the ability to do it from my office, without having to take the day off, and when it’s over jump right back into my work, is absolutely awesome.
Covid didn’t bring us many good things. With so many negatives and so few positives, most of us will remember 2020 as the worst year ever. But, the use of video technology by the courts is a silver lining that I really hope stays around, long after covid is gone from our memories. Letting busy lawyers choose whether or not to be there in person, or do a video swearing, is a step in the right direction. The more that traditional institutions like the courts can embrace technological advances will save us time, money, and will improve efficiency.
It is my honor to now be a member of the New Hampshire Bar. I am humbled every day when I think about what I get to do for a living. I get paid to help people and solve their problems. I look forward to helping the people of New Hampshire, with the same dedication that we have shown our Massachusetts clients for the last twenty years.