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Bar to recognize retired Judge John Lewis


John Lewis, the retired Superior Court judge who was reprimanded for making potentially sexist remarks, will get an official nod afterall when the New Hampshire Bar Associaion holds its annual meeting next month.

Last week, the Bar Association’s Board of Governors reversed an earlier decision and decided to recognize Lewis, along with other retiring judges. Lewis had appeared before the board last Thursday to ask them to include him.

In a statement after the vote, the Bar Association said it supported the reprimand of Lewis by the Judicial Conduct Committee. It noted the Conduct Committee investigated Lewis’ remarks and they “may have been reasonably perceived as prejudicial or biased.”

Last July, he reportedly told public defenders who regularly use his court that the legal profession risks losing respect because so many women are lawyers.

He also reportedly said people respect the business world because it is male-dominated, and the teaching profession is harmed because women are becoming lawyers rather than teachers.

In March, Lewis signed the reprimand and admitted making remarks that could be interpreted as gender-biased. Lewis, of Durham, had quietly retired as supervisory judge of Strafford County Superior Court last July.

Lewis has said the remarks were not received as he had intended.

In a statement released late last week, the board of directors of the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association said it does not opposed including Lewis in the list of retiring judges. He is a retiring judge, the organizaiton said, and no other reprimanded judge has been removed from the list.

The Women’s Bar said Lewis’ statements highlight the need for the organization to continue its push for true gender equality.

The annual meeting of the New Hampshire Bar is slated for June 20 at the Portsmouth Sheraton.

mhayward@unionleader.com

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