Serving the State of New Hampshire Since 1908
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Russell F. Hilliard

  • Profile
  • Credentials
  • Awards & Associations
  • Practice Areas
  • Community Involvement
  • Location

Russ is a native of New Hampshire, and has spent most of his professional career at the Upton firm, where he is now the senior partner. Since 2005, he has operated from the firm’s branch office in Portsmouth.

He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial and insurance litigation, professional discipline, and alternative dispute resolution, representing businesses, municipalities, and individual professionals.

Russ is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, inducted in 1995. He taught professional responsibility at Franklin Pierce Law Center (now UNH School of Law) for 10 years, and was a visiting lecturer at Tumaini University (now University of Iringa) in Tanzania in 2009 and 2012, leading courses in insurance law and judicial and legal ethics.

Following his time as a professor there, he and his wife now spend two months each year in central Tanzania doing volunteer work for the Lutheran church, Russ working remotely and taking advantage of the seven-hour time difference.

Russ earned his B.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1973, his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1976, and his L.L.M. in taxation from Boston University School of Law in 1985. He has participated on numerous CLE panels on trial practice, insurance issues, legislative developments, and professional ethics.

A highly respected attorney among his peers, he is ranked by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of commercial litigation, which recognized him as “as good a litigator as you could hope to find.” He is also included in The Best Lawyers in America® for alternative dispute resolution and in Super Lawyers in business litigation. He has a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating.

Russ was a founding member of the Hopkinton, New Hampshire Rotary club, serving as its charter president in 1996, and is now an honorary lifetime member. He is a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Newington, New Hampshire, where he served as council president in 2010. He was inducted into the Pembroke Academy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Russ and his wife Jo live in Portsmouth, and between them have five children and seven (and counting) grandchildren.

Assistant: Sharon Mallon

  • LLM, Taxation Boston University - Graduate School
  • JD Cornell Law School - Graduate School
  • BS, Engineering Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - University
  • American Bar Association House of Delegates
  • New Hampshire Bar Association (past president)
  • New Hampshire Bar Foundation (past chair)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, inducted 1995
  • New England Bar Association (president 2012-2013)
Community Involvement

Russ has been active in public service and civic organizations, including:

  • New Hampshire Legislative Ethics Committee (past chair)

  • New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (past member)

  • Hopkinton Rotary Club (charter president)

  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (past president)


Representative Matters

  • Reenstierna v. Currier, 873 F.3d 359 (1st Cir. 2017)

    Summary judgment was properly awarded to defendant in plaintiff's defamation action because New Hampshire absolute witness immunity rule extended beyond the testimony provided at an administrative hearing to include statements in report that defendant prepared for New Hampshire Real Estate Appraisal Board regarding plaintiff's work as an appraiser.

  • Jenkins v. G2S Constructors, Inc., 140 N.H. 219 (1995)

    Upon default by alleged stockholder, transfer of title to his stocks to the corporation was not automatic. The corporation was required to take one of several steps to take title to his stock, which it failed to do.

  • Appeal of Town of Lincoln, 172 N.H. 244 (2019)

    A town was not the "owner" of a levee pursuant to RSA 482:11-a, and therefore was not obligated under the statute to maintain and repair it, as an easement allowing the town and the United States the right to enter upon land at any time to inspect the levee with a view to its proper maintenance and operation was both limited and non-exclusive.

  • Miles v. Funk, 259 Fed. Appx. 335 (1st Cir. 2008)

    Defendants were properly granted summary judgment on plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 claim because plaintiffs did not allege that the procedure for enforcement of settlement agreements under New Hampshire state law was unconstitutional. Allegations of private misuse of state procedures were not enough.

  • Hill v. Town of Conway, 193 F.3d 33 (1st Cir. 1999)

    Where plaintiffs lost two state court cases, they could not circumvent those decisions by filing federal court takings suit; Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprived lower federal courts from direct review of state court decisions.

  • Murphy v. Franklin Pierce Law Ctr., 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 13474 (1st Cir. 1995)

    A law center made reasonable accommodations for a law student with diplopia and her dismissal for poor academic performance did not violate the Rehabilitation Act because she was not otherwise qualified for retention at the law center.

  • MacDonald v. Tandy Corp., 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 950 (1st Cir. 1993)

    In a wrongful discharge suit, employer's motion for judgment n.o.v. was properly granted after a jury entered a verdict for employee. Employee was not discharged because he cooperated with employer's theft investigation by taking a polygraph test; rather, he was fired because he was suspected of theft and the results of the test did not clear him.

  • Pstragowski v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 553 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1977)

    Judgment in favor of employee sustained because there was evidence of malicious discharge and issue of connivance was not preserved for review, but employee's wife could not recover on third party beneficiary theory.

  • In re Trust of Eddy, 172 N.H. 266 (2019)

    Under the Blasko test, a branch church that was a possible beneficiary of charitable trusts had not shown special interest standing to request affirmative relief, in part because the trial court had already taken steps to address the trustees' alleged bad acts and the state Director of Charitable Trusts had been actively involved in the matter.

  • Appeal of Hopkinton Sch. Dist. (N.H. State Bd. of Educ.), 151 N.H. 478 (2004)

    Administrative decision finding that a school principal was entitled to a new hearing on the non-renewal of her contract was vacated; the Board of Education used an "appearance of bias" standard, rather than the proper actual bias standard.

  • In re Haines, 148 N.H. 380 (2002)

    Psychiatrist's medical and psychiatric records were not relevant, essential, or reasonably likely to lead to discovery of admissible evidence in medical negligence case; thus, trial court abused its discretion in compelling their production.

  • Hillside Ass'n of Hollis v. Maine Bonding & Casualty Co., 135 N.H. 325 (1992)

    Due to the imbalance caused by the second insurer and the first insurer having to pay out double what the parties had bargained for, rescission of an insurance policy based on mutual mistake was proper.

  • Home Gas Corp. v. Strafford Fuels. 130 N.H. 74 (1987)

    Interpretation of covenant not to compete was reversed on appeal because the agreement was not meant to enjoin defendant from any competition with plaintiff for a period of one year.

  • Rockhouse Mountain Property Owners Ass'n v. Conway, 127 N.H. 593 (1986)

    Lot owners who alleged that town's refusal to lay out certain roads violated their constitutional rights were not entitled to mandamus relief because town selectmen had not entirely failed or refused to address the lot owners' requests for relief.

  • Sinclair v. Bow, 125 N.H. 388 (1984)

    In a purchaser's action for breach, an administrative assistant's apparent authority to sell certain commemorative coins to the purchaser was irrelevant because the purchaser did not suffer a loss as a result of the town’s refusal to approve the deal.

  • Pease v. Telegraph Publishing Co., 121 N.H. 62 (1981)

    In a public figure's libel action against a writer and a publisher, a court held that statements that the public figure claimed were libelous were clearly opinions and because the statements were opinions, they were protected by the First Amendment.

  • Commercial Litigation Invest Almaz v. Temple-Inland Forest Prods. Corp., 243 F.3d 57 (1st Cir. 2001)

    In suit arising out of failed attempt to purchase manufacturing plant, appellate court affirmed the rulings in favor of seller as to buyer's claims of unjust enrichment, fraud, and aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty.


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