In 1758 Sullivan was employed by Samuel Livermore of Portsmouth, a lawyer, to take care of the horses and perform general labor. One evening while Mr. Livermore was not at home, a defendant came to the house and, figuring that anyone from the office would be sufficient, he asked the young Mr. Sullivan to take his defense; Sullivan agreed. When Mr. Livermore returned, he found no one to care for his horse. Upon learning where his employee had gone, Mr. Livermore went to the Deacon Penhallow House and slipped into an adjoining room to hear Sullivan plead his case. Sullivan was successful and the client was acquitted. The next morning Mr. Livermore told John the kitchen was no place for him, that he should pursue his law studies and that he would assist him in whatever he needed. Sullivan became Livermore's student and later established his own legal practice in Durham.
In 1774 and 1775 and again in 1780-1781, Sullivan was a delegate to the first Continental Congress. From 1774-1779 he was highly active in the revolutionary military. By the time of his resignation in 1779, Sullivan had been promoted to a Major-General. In 1782 he was the state's Attorney General.
In 1785 Sullivan began campaigning for the position of President of the State of New Hampshire. His opponents attempted to discredit his campaign with the accusation that General Sullivan was not a native of New Hampshire. They based this claim on the fact that Sullivan's parents were settled in Maine, and Sullivan spent much of his childhood there. Sullivan claimed that he had been born in New Hampshire during a brief visit to the state by his parents. This issue was an important one at the time. The political scene was turbulent; government authority was being established and tested at both the state and federal levels. The citizens of New Hampshire firmly believed that the only person they could trust to truly act in their interests had to be one of their own, a man naturally born to New Hampshire, and not an alien. Sullivan's claim was believed. He was President of New Hampshire in 1786-1787 and again in 1789.
As a lawyer, John Sullivan had a fiery temper and an iron will. The daring and persistence that characterized his military career carried over into his legal career. When Sullivan was beaten in a lower court, he rarely abandoned his cause until all appeals were exhausted.
Appointed by President Washington to be Judge of the District Court for the District of New Hampshire in 1789, Judge Sullivan brought high esteem to the reputation of his court. Because the court was so new, much of the business that passed through the court was routine and the majority of that work was handled by the clerk. Judge Sullivan had a short-lived career on the bench and he was unable to gain the distinction as a jurist that he had as an officer and politician. This was a result of Sullivan's poor health. He was greatly weakened in body and mind, so much so that he rarely attended sessions of the court, and another judge had to be called in to perform judicial business. Arthur Fuller says that, "[Sullivan's] retention in this office when incapacitated to perform its functions was the result of the high esteem in which Washington himself and other influential persons held him on account of his eminent services as a warrior and statesman...his failure was not attributable to any lack of natural qualifications, but only to failing health."
General John Sullivan lacked military education or experience, yet he served his country valiantly in time of war. Sullivan did not possess inherited wealth and influence, and he lacked higher education. His father, a schoolmaster, instilled in him a drive to learn that served him throughout his legal career. Through his own hard work, Sullivan became a respected member of the bar, acquired wealth and a considerable amount of property in Durham, New Hampshire, and gained the respect apparent in his numerous civil offices.
Pickering was a very religious man and strongly believed he should do all he could to help his fellow man. He refused a position as a clergyman in Boston because he believed he could do more good as a lawyer. He lived up to this by giving legal counsel to the poor with no expectation of compensation. Historian Charles Bell says that, "Though one of the most eminent practitioners of his time, he realized from his business little more than he required for the support of his family." For Pickering, the legal profession was far more then a respectable calling, it was a means for him to insure that all men received equal treatment under the law, regardless of wealth and position. He carried this belief into his political career.
Pickering served as a representative in the Assembly of the Province of New Hampshire in 1774. While in office, Pickering opposed the measures that Great Britain imposed on the American colonies but shied away from a complete break with Britain. John Pickering was elected a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia but declined the position as he disliked long journeys. Instead he was extensively involved in the formation and revision of the New Hampshire State Constitution and called this Constitution his "favorite child, of his own begetting." He also served in the New Hampshire convention to ratify the United States Constitution in 1788 and was instrumental in its adoption by the state. Charles Bell says that, "It is believed that, had he employed his abilities and eloquence as zealously against the [Constitution] as he actually did in its favor, the convention would have rejected it." Pickering was a member of the New Hampshire House and Senate as well as being a member of the Executive Council. In January of 1790, he became President of New Hampshire when the incumbent (John Landon) was chosen to be a United States Senator. Pickering's time as Governor was brief because in August he was appointed Chief Justice of the Superior Court. He held that office until February 1795, when he was appointed Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire.
Pickering, perhaps, is New Hampshire's most notorious District Court Judge. After performing his duties diligently for a number of years, he began to show signs of mental illness. Pickering's lifetime struggle with hypochondria was beginning to influence his efficiency and effectiveness on the bench. As his illness worsened, Judge Pickering began to display signs of intoxication while on the bench and regularly used profanity. Ray Brighton of the Associated Press wrote a brief history of Judge Pickering's problems which appeared in The Concord Monitor ("A Tale of a Drunken, Deranged Judge"):
Judge Pickering was honored with an LL.D. by Dartmouth College.
John Samuel Sherburne
John Sherburne was elected to the state legislature in 1790 and served as Speaker for some of his two- to three-year tenure. He was twice elected to the House of Representatives serving for four years. After spending one more year in the state legislature, Sherburne ended his political career.
In 1802 he was appointed District Attorney of the United States and held that position until he was appointed to replace Judge John Pickering as Judge of the District Court in 1804. Judge Sherburne retained that position until the end of his life.
There is some scandal attached to Judge Sherburne. Apparently he was instrumental in the impeachment of Judge John Pickering and his involvement was considered by many to be a black mark upon his character. Sherburne testified strongly against Pickering, but "when summoned for further cross examination, he absented himself so that he could not be found." Accepting the position of the man he helped to remove from office was thought to have been a move of questionable taste. The years before Sherburne's death were spent in a state of mental deterioration and senility. According to Charles Bell, "there was not wanting those who looked upon this as a judgment upon him for his course against his predecessor in office."
My father was a farmer. I was fitted for college in the family of Rev. Samuel Wood, D.D., of Boscawen [and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1806]; read law in the office of John Harris, Hopkinton, and was admitted in Hillsborough County [in 1809], and commenced practice in Hopkinton, where I continued till 1830. Meantime, in 1814, I was chosen representative to the state legislature seven years successively, the last three of which I was Speaker. During the last year I was elected to Congress, and served four years. When I returned home I had been elected to the state senate, and so continued three years, being president all that time; then chosen [executive] councilor two years, and then in 1830 elected governor of the State. During that year I received the appointment of Judge of the United States District Court (by General Jackson), and have held that office to the present time ,--a period of fifty years of office-holding, not omitting a day. Though often a candidate, I was never defeated.
Upon his election to the Governorship, Matthew Harvey was the first to emphasize that imprisonment for debt was cruel and illogical and should be eliminated. He also recommended that inmates at the state prison should be given a means of immediate support so that they should have every chance of rehabilitation.
Dartmouth College bestowed an honorary LL.D. upon Judge Harvey in 1855. Judge Harvey is best remembered for his conscientious and benevolent attitude and his fidelity to duty.
Clark ran for the United States Senate in 1855 hoping to follow his previous political successes. He was defeated by his former employer, James Bell, but when Senator Bell died in office, Clark was chosen to serve the remainder of that term. He was also reelected for the next term as senator.
In 1866, Clark was appointed to the United States District Court. Although by law, Judge Clark might have relinquished his position at seventy years of age and still retained his salary, he insisted that he was going to "earn his money" and remained Judge of the District Court until his death at age eighty-two.
A man of extreme intelligence and devotion to duty, Judge Clark practiced law for twenty years, spent ten years in the United States Senate, and served on the bench for twenty-four. Clark was so highly regarded by his peers that he was often called upon to serve on the tribunals in other states in his circuit. He was universally regarded as faithful, honest, and trustworthy. Dartmouth College inscribed his name on the list of Doctors of Laws honored in 1866.
At the time of his death, Judge Clark was a trustee of the Manchester City Library and the Manchester Savings Bank, as well as the oldest director of the Amoskeag Corporation.
From the start, Edgar Aldrich was a successful and sought-after lawyer. Only two years into his practice, his busy Colebrook law office burned down in a large downtown fire. He rebuilt his private practice and served for several years as the Coos County solicitor.
Edgar Aldrich married Louise M. Remick in October, 1872. In 1881, the Aldriches moved to Littleton, where he resumed the private practice of law. He became a State legislator in 1884 and served as Speaker of the House in 1885. He served as a delegate to the New Hampshire state constitutional convention in 1902.
In 1891, after more than twenty years in practice, Edgar Aldrich was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison as a Judge of the Federal District Court. That same year, he received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Dartmouth College. In 1901, Dartmouth also bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.) In 1907, the University of Michigan presented Aldrich with an honorary LL.D., as well.
Edgar Aldrich served for thirty years as a federal judge until his death on September 15, 1921.
George F. Morris
George Morris was born on a farm in Vershire, Vermont, the only child of Josiah and Lucina Morris. He grew up on a farm but from an early age desired a career in teaching. Morris completed a three-year course in two years at the Randolph State Normal School in Vermont. After his graduation, Morris taught in numerous New Hampshire and Vermont schools.
He gave up teaching after his interest in law was sparked by his attendance at a number of "justice trials." Morris became the pupil of Mr. Smith of the law firm Smith & Sloane in Wells River, Vermont. Following the advice of Mr. Smith, Morris quit his teaching profession and dedicated himself to the study of law. Morris was accepted to the Vermont Bar in 1891 and to the New Hampshire Bar in 1893.
Morris initially practiced law alone in Lisbon, New Hampshire, but his successes gained him an invitation to join a more prestigious firm, Drew, Jordan,Buckley & Shurtleff of Lancaster, New Hampshire, as a trial lawyer. This move proved to be the springboard for his career in law. He gained his most noteworthy victories as the defense attorney for corporations including railroads, municipalities, and industrial plants, among others. He continued to practice law until 1921, when he was appointed United States District Judge by President Harding. His retirement in 1945 was brought about mainly by his failing eyesight. Judge Morris eventually lost his vision completely.
Though no longer a teacher, Morris continued to contribute to the interests of education. He taught a summer school for teachers and was the Orange County, Vermont county examiner of teachers for two years. He was a member of the Board of Education of Union School District in Lancaster from 1910 to 1924, serving part of that time as chairman of the board. In the political realm, Morris represented Lisbon, New Hampshire in the state legislature and in the Constitutional Conventions of 1902 and 1905. He also represented Lancaster in the Constitutional Convention in 1912.
Judge Morris had a great love for the outdoors and for outdoor activities. He was an excellent woodsman and enjoyed camping and trapping. Morris would even prepare for trials while accompanying surveyors on extended trips in the mountains. He owned a farm in Northumberland and was very interested in the science of farming. He was president of the County Farm Bureau in 1917.
His wife, Lula J. Aldrich, was very prominent in the affairs of the State. She served as a General Court representative, a State Senator, the President of the Federation of Women's Clubs, and as the Grand Matron of the Order of Eastern Star. Judge Morris was a member of the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of New Hampshire, of which he was president in 1917. He also was a member of the state board of Bar Examiners for six years. Together they had one son, Robert.
Fred C. Cleaveland describes Judge Morris as a: lawyer's lawyer, a kindly and sympathetic judge in the presence of misfortune and an equally relentless one toward wilful breakers of the law...the record of his many achievements including his courage in carrying on in spite of his physical handicap and his cheerful effort to minimize it will long serve as a stimulant and inspiration.Judge Morris died in Southern Pines, North Carolina, on March 25, 1953.
Aloysius J. Connor
Connor practiced law until he was appointed to the State Superior Court by Governor Murphy. Prior to that he had served as Hillsborough County Treasurer (1923-1924) and Manchester City Solicitor (1936-1937). Judge Connor sat on the Superior Court from 1937 until 1944, hearing the last case in which an individual was sentenced to death by hanging. In 1944, Judge Connor was appointed to the United States District Court by President Roosevelt; he held that position until his death. He was married to Beatrice Bisson and had four children.
Hugh H. Bownes
During his career, Hugh Bownes was one of the most respected and powerful judges, wielding his clout carefully to protect the rights of those who dared challenge authority. Judge Bownes was a champion of war protesters, welfare recipients, feminists, homosexuals and prisoners. Since becoming a judge in 1966, he issued hundreds of rulings, upholding freedom of expression and basic human rights. He was still writing opinions and speaking at civil rights forums until a few months before his death.
The older of two sons of working-class Irish immigrants, Judge Bownes was born in the Bronx in 1920. He earned scholarships to prep school and then to Columbia University and Law School and helped put himself through school by delivering groceries for the local A&P. As a Marine during World War II, he fought at Guadalcanal and Bougainville. In the Solomon Islands he won the Silver Star for leading a reconnaissance team. During the invasion of Guam, he was struck by a mortar round, severely damaging his leg.
Judge Bownes took his first job with a law firm in Laconia, where he lived most of his adult life. He was a delegate to the 1956 Democratic National Convention and a member of the Democratic National Committee. Both he and his late wife, Irja, served on the Laconia City Council. Judge Bownes was mayor for one term and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the NH State Senate. He was a Superior Court judge for less than two years before Lyndon B. Johnson named him to the U.S. District Court in 1968. In 1977 he was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. At the time of his death, he was living in Branford, Conn., with his second wife, Mary Davis. Survivors include his brother, three children, three stepchildren, fifteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Judge Bownes began his civil rights crusade early when, as a young lawyer, he represented a Conway man accused of hiding Communists. He received national attention when, as a district court judge, he issued a ruling describing the harsh and inhumane conditions of the NH Prison. As a result, the State overhauled its prison system. In some of his more noteworthy decisions during his decade on the federal bench in Concord, he found that NE Telephone & Telegraph discriminated against female employees, that gay students at UNH had the right to hold a dance, that a farm boy from Pittsfield had the right to wear blue jeans to school, that the State's flag desecration law was too broad and that George Maynard had the right to cover "Live Free or Die" on his license plate.
The Union Leader's editorials trounced him; many local lawyers worshiped him. But his colleagues say he seemed oblivious to both, treating everyone, friend or foe, or brand new attorney, with courtesy, humor and respect. But Judge Bownes was no pushover. He expected everyone to be prepared. He kept juries entertained and lawyers on their toes. From the federal appeals court, he continued to champion equal rights. In 1994 he wrote an opinion that strengthened Title IX, the law that mandates equal funding for men's and women's sports. Columbia University honored Judge Bownes in 1987 with the John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, recognizing him "[a]s one who has never let fear of controversy deter him from vigorously upholding the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights."
Judge Bownes continued to sit on cases up until his retirement on September 1, 2003. He issued his last opinion on August 4 - appropriately a dissent.
On September 3, 1952, Devine was admitted as a practicing attorney to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire. He was a trial lawyer at the firm of Devine, Millimet, Stahl, and Branch from September 1953 until July 1978. On June 27, 1978, Devine was appointed by President Carter to the United States District Court and has been the District Court's Chief Judge since May 4, 1979.
Judge Devine was married to Mary Elizabeth Beebe, now deceased. They had five children. Judge Devine married Priscilla Greenhalge on June 30, 1990. After taking Senior Status in 1992, Judge Devine continued to take a full case load until his death in 1999.
Judge Devine was a member of the Manchester Lions Club, the American Legion, the Manchester Bar Association, the New Hampshire Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Martin F. Loughlin
Starting his law career in Manchester in 1953, Loughlin practiced law for 10 years, primarily with his lifelong friend, James V. Broderick, Jr. In 1963, Loughlin was named an associate justice of the Superior Court, and in 1978, he was appointed chief justice. The following year, President Carter appointed him to the U.S. District Court, where he served until he retired in 1995.
In 1950 Loughlin married Margaret Gallagher and together they raised seven children. He was a member of the Manchester Bar Association, the New Hampshire Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Norman H. Stahl (1931)
Stahl was admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Federal Court in Massachusetts in 1955, and the New Hampshire State and Federal District Court bars in 1956. In the same year, he joined what was then the firm of Devine and Millimet (subsequently Devine, Millimet, Stahl and Branch). He served as Acting Manchester City Solicitor (1975) and was a member and chairman of the board of the New Hampshire Bar Examiners. He was a member of the Commission for Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad and served as a State and National delegate to the Republican Party Convention in 1988. He was a member of and chairman of the Judicial Council of the State of New Hampshire. Stahl served the citizens of Manchester through a number of organizations, including the Board of Trustees of Elliot Hospital, the Manchester Historic Association, the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, and the Manchester Jewish Federation. Stahl was appointed to the federal bench by President George Bush after confirmation by the United States Senate on April 5, 1990. In 1992, he was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals and was confirmed by the United States Senate for the position on June 30, 1992. He has served as a member of the Federal Courts' Technology Committee, member and Chairman of the Federal Courts' Security and Facilities Committee and currently serves on the Federal Courts' Budget Committee. He took senior status on April 16, 2001.
Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr.
Joseph DiClerico was born in Lynn, Massachusettes in 1941. He attended Williams College, where he received a B.A. in 1963, and Yale Law School where he received a LL.B. in 1966.
DiClerico worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Aloysius Conner at the U.S. District Court from 1966 to 1967. He ran a private practice from 1968 to 1970, when he was appointed Assistant state attorney general (until 1977). DiClerico served as an Associate judge on the New Hampshire Superior Court, before being appointed the Chief Justice of the Superior Court, an office he held from 1991 - 1992.
In 1992, he was nominated by George Bush to a new seat on the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire. DiClerico served as the chief judge from 1992 to 1997.
Paul J. Barbadoro
Steven J. McAuliffe
McAuliffe has served as a member and Vice-Chair of the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees; President, and member of the board and of various committees, of the New Hampshire Bar Association; Member of the Board of the Office of Public Guardian; and Chair of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for New Hampshire. He holds a private pilot's license, and attempts to golf. Judge McAuliffe was married to the late S. Christa McAuliffe, and, in 1992, married Kathleen E. McAuliffe. He has two children, and resides in Concord.
Joseph N. Laplante
Joseph N. Laplante was born in Nashua, New Hampshire in 1965. He attended Nashua High School, and went on to Georgetown University, earning an A.B. in American Studies in 1987 and his J.D. from Georgetown Law in 1990. After passing the New Hampshire bar examination, Laplante joined the law firm of Wiggin & Nourie, PA, in Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire.
In 1993, Judge Laplante began his career in public service with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, serving as an Attorney, then Assistant Attorney General and, ultimately, Senior Assistant Attorney General in A.G. Phillip McLaughlin’s (then new) Homicide Unit. From 1998 to 2000, Laplante worked with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in the Public Integrity Section as a member of the Campaign Financing Task Force, where he tried cases and argued appeals in Washington, D.C. and Los Angles, CA. In 2000, he became an Assistant United States Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Two years later, Laplante took a position in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire, primarily working on the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, and eventually serving as First Assistant United States Attorney. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Judge Laplante received the New Hampshire Bar Foundation’s Robert Kirby Award, the Lt. Steven P. Demo Law Enforcement Award, the Boston Police Department Distinguished Service Award, the New England Narcotic Enforcement Officers’ Association’s “Billy Yout Memorial Award,” several Congressional Law Enforcement Awards, and was named the state’s top prosecutor by New Hampshire Magazine in 2003. Laplante was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and he became a United States District Judge for the District of New Hampshire on December 28, 2007. He began serving as the chief judge of the district on November 1, 2011.
Judge Laplante is a member of the Webster-Batchelder American Inn of Court, and has served on two New Hampshire Bar Association committees: the New Lawyer’s Committee (past chairman), and the Professionalism Committee (past chairman). He is also an advisory board member of the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program, a program that he attended as a student in 1982. Judge Laplante has served on the Nashua Region Board of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (chairman 2006-08), the Nashua Police Athletic League and Youth Safe Haven (chairman 2003-08), and the St. Christopher School Advisory Board. He coordinates the youth wrestling program (K-8th grade) for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua, and volunteers at the Corpus Christi Food Pantry. He is a boxing referee, licensed to officiate both professional and amateur bouts.