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The state’s largest law firm celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019 by making monthly donations based on the number 100: 100 blankets to Cross Roads House and Lazarus House; 100 books and journals to Farnum Center and Megan’s House; 100 shoes and school supplies to Girls Inc. of NH.
That’s fitting for a firm whose history is steeped in giving back. Firm founder John “Judge” R. McLane helped start the NH Children’s Aid Society, now known as Waypoint. And McLane Middleton’s attorneys and staff now volunteer with more than 200 local charities and organizations. Recently, McLane’s attorneys served on the University of NH Presidential Search Committee and as co-chair of the Palace Theatre Capital Campaign Committee. The firm encourages attorneys to perform 30 to 50 hours of pro bono service annually.
“When I showed up 25 years ago, that’s the behavior that was modeled and I followed it,” says Barry Needleman, managing director. “It is ingrained in our heritage.” Annually, the firm gives the John R. McLane, Jr. Community Service Award and the Jack B. Middleton Pro Bono Award.
“I am thrilled we have attorneys who are always putting clients at the center of what they do and are also really good human beings. We have shared values of giving back to the community,” says Cathy Schmidt, executive director
McLane Middleton, which has three offices in NH and two in Massachusetts, has 210 employees. And its alumni include former U.S. Sen.
Kelly Ayotte and current U.S. Rep. Annie McLane Kuster. It also currently boasts three former NH attorneys general.
The firm’s attorneys have also held leadership positions at the NH Bar Association, including two presidents just in the past decade. And, one of McLane Middleton’s attorneys was a founding member of the NH Women’s Bar Association and served as its second president.
McLane’s attorneys have drafted influential legislation and authored the State of NH’s Environmental Law Handbook.
Such expertise allows it to help clients navigate the current uncertainty. The firm has held free webinars, with about 1,000 attendees per session, on various COVID-19-related legal issues, Needleman says. Each webinar ends with the firm encouraging attendees to donate to the NH Food Bank. “It’s the ability of the firm to adapt and modify to meet the challenges of the time that has helped us to weather the storm,” Schmidt says.