Bennington Bar president has plans


BENNINGTON -- The Bennington County Bar Association has a new president.

Amy Palmer-Ellis, of Jacobs, McClintock & Palmer-Ellis, was elected to the post on Aug. 21. She had been the association's vice president and succeeds David Fenster, who is applying to fill the vacant position of Addison County state's attorney.

Palmer-Ellis said the association has not had a chance to meet since her election, but there are a number of projects she would like to continue as well as begin, in addition to the bar's normal function of providing local training opportunities and fostering a sense of collegiality among attorneys and law professionals in Bennington County.

Among those projects are bringing wireless Internet access to the county courthouses and setting up a pro bono project for guardianship, landlord/tenant, foreclosure and collection cases. Palmer-Ellis said she hopes for the pro bono project to include a legal hotline people with those particular issues can call for free advice.

She said training will be required for the hotline, and lawyers are required to have 20 hours of training every two years to keep their licenses anyway. She said the Bar Association normally organizes training seminars locally so local attorneys can be spared trips to Montpelier and Burlington.

Palmer-Ellis was born in Bennington and grew up in Pownal. She attended Mount Anthony Union High School and went to college at Colgate University in New York, where she graduated in 1995. She attended Hamline School of Law in Minnesota and graduated from there in 1998.

She practiced law in Boston until 2004, when she returned to the area and took up residence in Williamstown, Mass.

"I think living away from this area makes you appreciate it a lot more," she said, adding that she has concentrated as an attorney on family law, health law, wills, trusts, estate planning, real estate, corporate law, probate administration, zoning, planning, land use and civil litigation.

She said being an urban lawyer is nice, but rural communities provide much more in terms of variety. While working in Boston, most of her clients were large corporations. In Bennington, she said, things are more personal, and it feels more as if she is helping the community directly.

Attorneys in metropolitan areas, she said, tend to only have time to handle one type of case.

Contact Keith Whitcomb at


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