Tom Hanna is a native of Keene and a graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston College Law School, where he was a member of the Environmental Law Journal. He has practiced law in Keene since becoming a member of the New Hampshire bar in 1980. Over the past 40 years, he has become one of New Hampshire’s leading lawyers in the area of land use. His deep experience in this field includes countless appearances before zoning and planning boards, representation of real estate developers (including for-profit and non-profit), landowners, neighbors, and towns, and virtually every other aspect of real estate law. He has been the point person for the permitting of hospitals, community theatres, shopping centers, churches, continuing care retirement communities, and lake front houses, and he has handled boundary, easement and road disputes, among other matters.
Tom’s skills as a land use lawyer have been widely recognized. In addition to his dedicated work on behalf of clients, he is a “lawyer’s lawyer.” “One reason I have been successful in obtaining zoning variances, for example, is because I tell clients when I don’t believe it’s worth the expense to apply. So if we proceed, there is a reasonable chance of success.” Lawyers throughout the region regularly consult with Tom on complex real estate cases, and he has lectured before legal and community groups on the subject of zoning and other land use matters.
Tom has been devoted to conservation work for more than 25 years. In 2019, Tom completed 10 years as a trustee of the New Hampshire chapter of The Nature Conservancy, whose board he chaired from 2016 to 2018. For 15 years, he was a trustee of The Monadnock Conservancy, an organization devoted to the conservation of natural resources in the 35 towns that make up the Monadnock region, and from 2011 to 2013 he served as president of the organization’s board. He served on the Westmoreland Planning Board from 1986 to 2000.
Tom has also been active in the bar over the years, including as a past member of the Board of Governors of the NH Bar Association and of the Supreme Court Professional Conduct Committee.
At Dartmouth, he tutored Native Americans participating in the ABC (“A Better Chance”) program and taught high school English in nearby Hartford, Vermont, where the ABC students attended. He was also the center fielder and leadoff hitter for the Dartmouth baseball team, which made it to the 1970 college world series in Omaha, Nebraska when Tom was a junior. Between college and law school Tom worked as a newspaper reporter at The Keene (NH) Sentinel and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, VA, and he still enjoys writing.
Tom is an avid hiker, skier and tennis player. He loves to travel and to research and write about local baseball history (especially the 1920s to 1940s). He and his wife, Elke, live in Westmoreland where they raised their three sons.