2009 Pro Bono Award Recipient

The law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, Professional Association is pleased to recognize the outstanding commitment of Thomas Hildreth to serving New Hampshire’s poor and underprivileged citizens with the fifth annual Jack B. Middleton Pro Bono Legal Services Award.

McLane, New Hampshire’s largest full-service law firm, with offices in Woburn, Massachusetts as well, created the award in support of its efforts to help ensure that all New Hampshire citizens, regardless of resources, have access to the justice system. Since the firm’s inception almost ninety years ago, McLane has been a consistent leader in supporting the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Mr. Hildreth is a director in McLane’s Corporate Department and founder and head of the firm’s Immigration Law Practice Group.

Charla Bizios Stevens, a Litigation attorney and head of McLane’s Pro Bono Committee, awarded Mr. Hildreth with the honor, noting the following reasons for his being chosen among his peers.

“Through Tom’s efforts, a family was reunited after experiencing horrific treatment in their native Africa, “she explained. “Year-after-year, while the immigration system churned ever so slowly, he helped this family remain together, safe and secure in the United States. But Tom went way beyond merely ensuring that this family’s immigration papers remain in order. He has helped them avoid foreclosure on their home, and has spent countless hours helping them navigate the juvenile justice system.”

Stevens summed, “Pro bono work is often a transient process. The results we achieve are significant for our client, but as lawyers, we often just drift into our clients’ lives, do what we need to do to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve, and drift out. But for the past five years, Tom has stood beside this family, serving as their constant advisor, support system and friend.”

She continued, “This is exactly the spirit in which the Jack B. Middleton Pro Bono Award was created. Jack embodies the best of what many of us in our profession aspire to be, and all of us who serve on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee are very proud to follow in his footsteps.”

Middleton, a senior partner was the first lawyer in private practice to be honored by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation with the Frank Rowe Kenison award for his exemplary work and substantial contributions to the betterment of New Hampshire’s citizens. An esteemed trial lawyer for fifty years, Middleton has also given tirelessly to a number of civic organizations, including holding board positions with the United Way, the Mt. Washington Observatory and New Hampshire Public Television.

Middleton was also among the pioneers of the IOLTA (“Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts”) program in New Hampshire. Under IOLTA, interest earned on certain funds held by attorneys are used by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to fund legal services for the poor.