NHLAP was created as an independent office under NH Supreme Court Rule 58 in 2007 for the purpose of establishing a statewide lawyer assistance program to provide immediate and continuing help to members of the NH legal profession (judges, lawyers and law students) who are affected by any physical or mental health condition that affects their ability to practice law. This rule also establishes a Lawyers Assistance Program Commission to administer and provide advice regarding the management of NHLAP. Thus, the Commission performs all hiring and management oversight of the Executive Director, presents an annual budget to the NH Supreme Court, reviews the working NHLAP budget at each quarterly meeting, establishes and reviews policies and procedures, and submits a complete NHLAP annual report to the NH Supreme Court. The annual report is available to all members of the NH Bar, as it never contains any confidential information.
The NHLAP Commission, or “Board” as it is known, is comprised by rule of two judges, four lawyers and two health care professionals, all of which are nominated by the Executive Director of NHLAP and appointed by Order of the NH Supreme Court. Each appointment lasts three years and may be renewed only once for one consecutive term. Of the eight Board members, one is appointed Chair, one is appointed Vice-Chair and one is appointed Treasurer, each of which is also appointed for a three-year term. The Board meets quarterly with written minutes maintained at the NHLAP office. All minutes are subject to NH Supreme Court rule 58.8 providing utmost confidentiality.
Because NHLAP is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit for the purpose of assisting NH legal practitioners with any issue that may impact ability to practice law, it is essential to have the input of the NH Bar Association. To facilitate communication as to NHLAP services available to NH Bar members and to hear of any concerns or ideas from the leadership at the NH Bar, the NH Supreme Court created the position of “Ex-Officio Board Member” to the Executive Director of the NH Bar in 2009. This position facilitates the necessary communication but never compromises confidentiality. Discussion at Board meetings does not include specific cases using names or any other identifying factors- only general case outlines for purposes of informing the Board of ongoing NHLAP work. If some rare circumstance requires disclosure of confidential information at an NHLAP Board meeting, NH Supreme Court Rule 58.8 mandates that no Board member may ever disclose confidential information outside of NHLAP unless such disclosure is waived in writing or required by court order.
NHLAP Board members are dedicated, concerned and experienced members of the NH Bar or the medical community who volunteer their time and energy aiding NHLAP in providing the best services possible in the most economic and efficient ways possible. NHLAP and members of the NH Bar are very grateful for the energy and enthusiasm all volunteers bring to each Board meeting and NHLAP program. NHLAP could not exist without our Board volunteers.