One of the great things about being the only law school in a state is the opportunity to develop deep and broad relationships with the judiciary. Leading federal judges Bruce Selya (US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) and Will Smith (District Court of Rhode island) are popular members of our Adjunct Faculty who teach signature courses that they in whole or in part developed and deliver. Our students also get great access to leading state judges via externships (for example with Superior Court Judges Judy Savage and Dan Procaccini), or in courses (taught by Supreme Court Justice Frank Flaherty and Chief Judge of the Workers Compensation Court George Healy).
We also host an annual meeting of the entire judiciary during the relative quiet of our spring break, and this year the program featured a chance to explain to the assembled dignitaries a unique program we have developed to improve the access to justice for the least fortunate Rhode Islanders. Our Pro Bono Collaborative (PBC) links lawyers from major RI firms, community organizations, and law students to perform projects tailored to meet the special needs of the clients with the scheduling needs of students on an academic calendar, and the skills of lawyers who typically do the kind of transactional work that does not mesh well with the needs of clients. The judges got to hear from PBC Director Eliza Vorenberg and Steve Prignano from Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, a leading firm that is deeply engaged in PBC work. The judges got to hear first hand how the Roger Williams School of Law is doing its bit to address the crisis in availability of legal representation.
Suzy Harrington-Steppen, Project Coordinator, Pro Bono Collaborative; Director Eliza Vorenberg; Dean Logan; Steve Prignano, Esq.; Chief Justice of the RI Supreme Court Paul Suttell; Judge William Guglietta, Chief Magistrate of the RI Traffic Tribunal; and Holly Hitchcock, Executive Director, RI Mandatory Continuing Education Commission