In December, friends, colleagues, and family gathered to celebrate Elliott Berry upon his retirement after 47 years at New Hampshire Legal Assistance. His time at NHLA has been spent shaping civil legal policy and practice, and he has served as a mentor to generations of legal aid advocates.

Elliott joined NHLA in 1975. Since then, he has represented thousands of individuals and families in housing case, successfully challenged municipal zoning ordinances that precluded affordable housing, and been a founding force behind the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and countless other community endeavors.

Through advocacy at the State House, he expanded protections for tenants, including statutory elimination of no cause evictions. Friends and former colleagues noted some of the many other ways his work improved life for people in New Hampshire:

“Elliott served a lot of clients no one else was interested in serving,” said former NHLA Executive Director John Tobin, Jr. “Whether representing men and women in prison, people with mental illness, people on welfare, or homeless individuals, Elliott really cares about every client’s worth, dignity, and respect.”

“His remarkable advocacy is unmatched,” said Alan Cronheim, a former NHLA staff attorney who started at the same time as Elliott. “He has a vision few others have – not just to see problems but to see solutions and to have the ability to persuade others to do what is right and fix those problems.”

“The world of politics, like the world of law, can be dominated by ego and bluster,” said Elliott’s son, Jake Berry, Vice President of Policy at New Futures. “Amidst that, my dad has built a career based on honesty and integrity.”