At the June 8, 2005 meeting of the Merrimack County Bar Association, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Kathleen McGuire received the 2005 Lawyer of the Year Award. Retired judge George Manias, a former colleague of Judge McGuire’s, presented the award.
The Merrimack County Bar Association’s Lawyer of the Year award is awarded to a member who has made remarkable contributions, above and beyond what is ordinary, to the improvement and the well being of the citizens of Merrimack County, the state of New Hampshire or the Nation.
Judge McGuire, in both her courtroom work and her non-courtroom activities, supports a number of worthwhile causes that are an amazing testament to her energy and commitment to the Rule of Law and to her fellow man. For example, as a member of the Board of Trustees for the New Hampshire Institute of Furniture Making, Judge McGuire brought technology and skill to the New Hampshire State Prison in a program that teaches inmates advanced techniques and the finer aspects of woodworking. Judge McGuire has convinced master furniture-makers to speak to interested inmates and has used this program to reward deserving and promising inmates, who must maintain a positive attitude and a good disciplinary record.
Judge McGuire was also instrumental in developing what is known as the Merrimack Academy, an alternative to incarceration. The Merrimack Academy is a program for convicted offenders who have agreed to a very rigorous regime requiring weekly appearances before the Judge for both encouragement and strict reprimand, if needed. Both are dealt out in appropriate measure, depending upon the conduct of the individual. There are between 25 and 30 members enrolled in this program at any one time and it lasts up to a year and ends in a graduation ceremony. Judge McGuire has been the vital force that has made the program successful. She has not only contributed her own time to supervise the participants, both in chambers and in open court, but has also been instrumental in counseling those who needed it. While she is a tough taskmaster to those who do not perform up to the standards required by the program, she is caring and compassionate, too.
Judge McGuire has also been involved in the “Dress for Success,” program which has been in existence since 1998. As a result of an article she read about how the program could assist women who need professional help and sometimes monetary assistance to make their lives more successful, she has worked to provide participants an opportunity to excel in their own right. Judge McGuire has recruited a number of volunteers to assist in the program, many of whom are attorneys and have served on the Board of Directors.
Judge McGuire has taken steps to advance the Rule of Law. She has been on the faculty of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada and an adjunct faculty member of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. She has been active with an international program involving Russian judges and court administrators. As such, Judge McGuire has been the inspirational and functional leader of the New Hampshire-Vologda, Russia program, a part of the Russian American Rule of Law Consortium. Since the late 1990s she has traveled to Russia numerous times to meet with Russian judges and court administrators and has made presentations on a wide array of topics important to ongoing legal reforms.
She has also hosted numerous delegations from Vologda in various activities designed to share information about court process and judicial responsibility. Judge McGuire has earned high respect from those with whom she has worked in Russia and in the United States, setting an example as an expert jurist dedicated to the Rule of Law both here and abroad.
For those who practice law and have appeared before her, Judge McGuire is regarded as a remarkable jurist whose judicial skill is renowned and whose dedication is extraordinary. In her own way she has improved the quality of life of fellow citizens at all levels of government—local, national and international.
These are just some of the reasons that the Merrimack County Bar Association proclaimed Judge Kathleen McGuire their Lawyer of the Year.