TITLE XXX
OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS

Chapter 311
ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS

Section 311:1

    311:1 Right to Appear, Etc. – A party in any cause or proceeding may appear, plead, prosecute or defend in his or her proper person, that is, pro se, or may be represented by any citizen of good character. For the purposes of this section, a citizen shall be presumed to be of good character unless demonstrated otherwise.

Source. RS 177:1. CS 187:1. GS 199:1. GL 218:1. PS 213:1. PL 325:1. RL 381:1. RSA 311:1. 1996, 117:2. 1999, 251:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 311:2

    311:2 Admission to Practice. – Any citizen of the age of 18 years, of good moral character and suitable qualifications, on application to the supreme court shall be admitted to practice as an attorney.

Source. RS 177:2. CS 187:2. GS 199:2. 1872, 36:1. GL 218:2. PS 213:2. PL 325:2. RL 381:2. RSA 311:2. 1973, 72:63, eff. June 3, 1973.

Section 311:2-a


[RSA 311:2-a effective January 1, 2023 and repealed by 2022, 194:1, effective January 1, 2025.]
    311:2-a Legal Services by Paraprofessionals. –
I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a paraprofessional may represent another person in matters pursuant to RSA 173-B, RSA 458, RSA 458-A, RSA 458-B, RSA 458-C, RSA 458-D, RSA 458-E, RSA 459, RSA 461-A, RSA 540, RSA 540-A, and RSA 633:3-a, III-a through III-d provided that:
(a) The paraprofessional is employed or retained by and acting under the supervision of an attorney admitted to practice under RSA 311:2, which attorney shall carry professional liability insurance with reasonable coverage limits;
(b) The paraprofessional has either a bachelor's degree in any field or an associate's degree in a law-related field; and at least 2 years of work experience in a law-related setting with attorney supervision;
(c) The person represented receives written notice that the paraprofessional is a non-attorney acting under the supervision of an attorney admitted to practice under RSA 311:2, including the attorney's name, prior to the commencement of the representation;
(d) In any pleading filed with any court, the paraprofessional discloses that the paraprofessional is a non-attorney acting under the supervision of an attorney admitted to practice under RSA 311:2, including the attorney's name; and
(e) The person represented has household income no greater than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines at the commencement of representation.
II. Paraprofessional representation provided pursuant to paragraph I may be provided only in the 9th Circuit Court - District Division - Manchester, the 9th Circuit - Family Division - Manchester, the 1st Circuit - District Division - Berlin, the 6th Circuit Court - District Division - Franklin, the 6th Circuit Court - Family Division - Franklin, and the 1st Circuit - Family Division - Berlin.
III. Each attorney supervising a paraprofessional providing representation pursuant to this section shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the paraprofessional's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the attorney, including the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rule 5.3 pertaining to responsibilities regarding nonlawyer assistance.
IV. The supreme court may promulgate such rules as may be necessary to regulate the conduct of paraprofessionals.

Source. 2022, 194:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2023.

Section 311:3

    311:3 Repealed by 1981, 328:3, I, eff. Aug. 16, 1981. –

Section 311:4

    311:4 Repealed by 1981, 328:3, II, eff. Aug. 16, 1981. –

Section 311:5

    311:5 Limitation. – No person shall act as attorney in any cause in which the person has acted as judge.

Source. RS 177:8. CS 187:8. GS 199:8. GL 218:8. PS 213:8. PL 325:5. RL 381:5. RSA 311:5. 1996, 117:3, eff. May 15, 1996.

Section 311:6

    311:6 Oath. – Every attorney admitted to practice shall take and subscribe the oaths to support the constitution of this state and of the United States, and the oath of office in the following form: You solemnly swear or affirm that you will do no falsehood, nor consent that any be done in the court, and if you know of any, that you will give knowledge thereof to the justices of the court, or some of them, that it may be reformed; that you will not wittingly or willingly promote, sue or procure to be sued any false or unlawful suit, nor consent to the same; that you will delay no person for lucre or malice, and will act in the office of an attorney within the court according to the best of your learning and discretion, and with all good fidelity as well to the court as to your client. So help you God or under the pains and penalty of perjury. The supreme court shall have authority to determine by court rule the manner in which the oaths shall be administered.

Source. RS 177:5. CS 187:5. GS 199:5. GL 218:5. PS 213:5. PL 325:6. RL 381:6. RSA 311:6. 1995, 277:3. 2014, 204:46, eff. July 11, 2014.

Section 311:7

    311:7 Prohibition. – No person shall be permitted commonly to practice as an attorney in court unless he has been admitted by the court and taken the oath prescribed in RSA 311:6.

Source. RS 177:6. CS 187:6. GS 199:6. GL 218:6. PS 213:6. PL 325:7. RL 381:7.

Unauthorized Practice of Law

Section 311:7-a

    311:7-a Petition for Injunction. –
I. Upon the attorney general's own information or upon complaint of any person, including any judge or any organized bar association in this state, the attorney general may maintain an action for injunctive relief in the supreme or superior court against any person who renders, offers to render, or holds himself or herself out as rendering any service which constitutes the unauthorized practice of the law. Any organized bar association in this state may intervene in the action, at any stage of the proceeding, for good cause shown.
II. The action may also be maintained by the bar association of the state of New Hampshire.

Source. 1967, 290:1. 1996, 117:4, eff. May 15, 1996.

Section 311:7-b

    311:7-b Investigation by Attorney General. –
I. The attorney general may investigate any complaint of unauthorized practice of the law and the attorney general, or a deputy attorney general or an assistant attorney general designated by the attorney general, may subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine them under oath, and require the production of any relevant documentary evidence.
II. The laws relating to the attendance of witnesses in civil actions and the payment of their fees and expenses to those witnesses shall apply to investigations made by the attorney general.
III. If a person fails or refuses to obey a subpoena or to testify as to any material matter regarding which the person may be interrogated, the superior court, upon application by the attorney general, may issue to the person an order requiring the person to appear before the attorney general, or a deputy attorney general or an assistant attorney general designated by the attorney general, to produce documentary evidence or testify. Failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a contempt of court.
IV. When requested, public officers, their assistants, clerks or employees shall furnish to the attorney general, the deputy or an assistant attorney general designated by the attorney general all information and assistance.
V. Investigations under this section shall be confidential. Any person participating in the investigation who, except as required in the discharge of the person's official duties, discloses to any person, other than to a person under investigation, the name of any person under investigation or any witness examined, or any other information obtained in the investigation is guilty of a misdemeanor.
VI. Every person whose conduct is investigated under this section shall be furnished with a written specification of the issues which are to be considered, and shall be given an opportunity to present evidence and be heard upon the specified issues.

Source. 1967, 290:1. 1996, 117:4, eff. May 15, 1996.

Section 311:7-c

    311:7-c Remedies and Procedures Additional to Those Now Existing. – The remedies and procedures provided in this subdivision are in addition to and not in substitution for other available remedies and procedures.

Source. 1967, 290:1, eff. Aug. 26, 1967.

Section 311:7-d

    311:7-d Definition. – The word "person" as used in this subdivision means an individual, corporation, partnership or association.

Source. 1967, 290:1, eff. Aug. 26, 1967.

Section 311:7-e

    311:7-e Short Title. – This subdivision may be cited as the Model Act Providing Remedies for the Unauthorized Practice of Law.

Source. 1967, 290:1, eff. Aug. 26, 1967.

Section 311:7-f

    311:7-f Severability. – If any provision of this subdivision or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications hereof which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this subdivision are severable.

Source. 1967, 290:1, eff. Aug. 26, 1967.

State Bar Association

Section 311:7-g

    311:7-g State Bar Association Membership; Vote Required. –
I. The supreme court, pursuant to its power to regulate the practice of law under this chapter and its continuing supervisory authority over attorneys practicing before courts of this state, may assess fees for the purpose of regulating the practice of law and for maintaining a professional conduct committee.
II. The supreme court may require all persons engaged in the practice of law in this state to be members of the New Hampshire Bar Association; provided that the members of the Bar Association have approved the requirement pursuant to paragraph III.
III. The board of governors of the New Hampshire Bar Association shall place on the ballot with the election of officers of the association, the following question: "Shall membership in the New Hampshire Bar Association be required for all attorneys licensed to practice in this state?" An affirmative vote of a majority of those voting on the question, shall allow for the requirement by the supreme court under paragraph II. Approval by the membership under this paragraph shall be valid for a 5-year period beginning on the date of the affirmative vote.

Source. 2003, 250:1, eff. July 1, 2003.

Section 311:7-h

    311:7-h Bar Association Legislative Activities. –
I. The New Hampshire Bar Association, if membership is mandatory for attorneys under RSA 311:7-g, shall be prohibited from using any part of dues paid by its members for the purpose of lobbying or influencing the general court on any matter, except as provided in paragraph III.
II. If membership in the New Hampshire Bar Association is mandatory for attorneys under RSA 311:7-g, no person shall be permitted to engage in legislative activities on behalf of the New Hampshire Bar Association for the purpose of lobbying or influencing the general court on any matter, except as provided in paragraph III.
III. The Bar Association may use a part of dues paid by its members, and may engage a person to lobby or influence the legislature on its behalf provided the Association:
(a) Limits its activities before the general court to those matters which are directly related to the regulation of the legal profession and improving the quality of legal services available to the people of the state. The scope of such permissible activities shall be narrowly defined; and
(b) Has determined that substantial unanimity exists within the bar as a whole in agreement with the position taken on a matter.
IV. Nothing in the section shall prevent officers and members of the Bar Association from appearing before the general court to express their views as individuals, as members of voluntary associations, or as representatives of clients.
V. Any member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, if membership is mandatory for attorneys under RSA 311:7-g, may refuse to pay that portion of the Bar Association dues that are used for lobbying or influencing the legislature or other political matters.

Source. 2003, 250:1, eff. July 1, 2003.

Section 311:7-i

    311:7-i Severability. – If any provision of this subdivision or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications hereof which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this subdivision are severable.

Source. 2003, 250:1, eff. July 1, 2003.

Regulation of Practice of Law

Section 311:8

    311:8 Disbarment, Etc. – The supreme court shall inquire in a summary manner into any charges of fraud, malpractice, or contempt of court against an attorney, and, upon satisfactory evidence of the attorney's guilt, shall suspend such attorney from practice, or may remove the attorney from office.

Source. RS 177:7. CS 187:7. GS 199:7. GL 218:7. 1889, 20:1. PS 213:7. PL 325:8. RL 381:8. RSA 311:8. 1996, 117:5, eff. May 15, 1996.

Section 311:9

    311:9 Repealed by 1967, 290:2, eff. Aug. 26, 1967. –

Section 311:10

    311:10 Effect of Suspension, Etc. – No person while suspended from practice pursuant to RSA 311:8, or until the person's restoration to office, shall be permitted to practice as an attorney before any court or magistrate, or elsewhere; and any writ or other process made by such person for another, while thus disqualified, shall be void.

Source. RS 177:7. CS 187:7. GS 199:7. GL 218:7. 1889, 20:1. PS 213:7. PL 325:9. RL 381:9. RSA 311:10. 1996, 117:6, eff. May 15, 1996.

Section 311:11

    311:11 Practice by Corporations Prohibited. – No corporation shall practice or appear as an attorney in any court in the state or before any judicial body or hold itself out to the public or advertise as being entitled to practice law, and no corporation shall draw agreements, or other legal documents not relating to its lawful business, or draw wills, or practice law, or give legal advice or legal information as an attorney, or hold itself out in any manner as being entitled to do any of the foregoing acts, by or through any person orally or by advertisement, letter, or circular; provided that the foregoing prohibition shall not prevent a corporation from employing an attorney in regard to its own affairs or in any litigation to which it is or may be a party. Any person violating any provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony. Any natural person, including every officer, agent or employee of any such corporation, who, on its behalf, directly or indirectly engages in any of the acts herein prohibited or assists such corporation to do such prohibited acts shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Source. 1935, 34:1. RL 381:11. RSA 311:11. 1973, 529:66, eff. Oct. 31, 1973 at 11:59 p.m.

Section 311:11-a

    311:11-a Exception. – The word "corporation" as used in RSA 311:11 shall not include a corporation of attorneys organized as a professional association under the provisions of RSA 294-A.

Source. 1970, 2:1, eff. June 8, 1970.

Section 311:12

    311:12 Repealed by 1967, 290:2, eff. Aug. 26, 1967. –

Section 311:13

    311:13 Lien on Verdict. – From the commencement of an action, bill in equity or other proceeding in any court, the filing of a counterclaim or plea in set-off or recoupment, or appearance in any proceeding before any state or federal department, board, or commission, the attorney who appears for a client in such proceeding shall have a lien for reasonable fees and expenses upon the client's cause of action, upon the judgment decree or other order in the client's favor entered or made in such proceeding, and upon the proceeds derived therefrom. The lien cannot be affected by any settlement between the parties before or after the judgment decree or other order. Upon the request of the client or the attorney, the court in which the proceeding is pending, or, if the proceeding is not pending in a court, the superior court, may determine and enforce the lien; provided that this section shall not apply to matters arising under RSA 282-A and any case where the method of determination of attorneys' fees is otherwise expressly provided by statute.

Source. 1963, 89:1. 1996, 117:7, eff. May 15, 1996.