I often use this blog to talk about the amazing array of experiential learning opportunities that RWU Law is able to offer as the only law school in Rhode Island.
But as we approach our 20th Anniversary, it’s becoming increasingly clear just how deeply RWU Law has penetrated Rhode Island legal culture – up to and including the state judiciary. Here are just three examples from the recent weeks.
Tim Gumkowski ’06, a successful public defender with Brooklyn Defender Services, got his start at Roger Williams, working in our Criminal Defense Clinic (he was the first law student in Rhode Island history to act as lead attorney in a Superior Court jury trial) and volunteering for the New England Innocence Project. He also found time to write for the Law Review on "Spoliation of Evidence" – an article that was recently cited by the Honorable Brian P. Stern, associate justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court, in Laurent v. St. Michael's School, WC-09-0545.
Judge Stern wrote, in a kind note to Tim afterward, “I reviewed many of the excellent public policy arguments from your Law Review Note in the Roger Williams Law Review [Gumkowski, “Protecting the Integrity,” 10 Roger Williams University Law Review 795 (2005)] advocating for a change in the law.”
Meanwhile, 3L Allison Belknap received the exciting news that she had won the state Supreme Court appeal she’d brought on behalf of the defendant in State v. Doris E. Poulin, No. 11-5 (May 2, 2013) [http://www.courts.ri.gov/Courts/SupremeCourt/Opinions/Opinions%20%282012-2013%29.aspx], again through our Criminal Law Defense Clinic. “I could not be more thrilled!” Alison wrote upon hearing the news. “This is the highlight of all of my three years at RWU. I can't thank you enough for all your support and encouragement throughout this case!” Special thanks, of course, go to the excellent guidance provided by the clinic’s interim director Priya Lakhi.
Last but definitely not least, a shout out to Nicole Dulude Benjamin ’06 – a former president of the Law Alumni Association (and a member of the Class of 2006, who began their careers at RWU Law the same time I did, in 2003!). Based on her work as Clerk to the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and her years in practice, Nicole is spearheading a new newsletter called “Fast Five on Rhode Island Appellate Practice,” which will provide updates on Rhode Island appellate law and pointers for practice before the Court. Congratulations Nicole, for providing this great service to the Rhode Island Bar – and to all of our alumni, current students, faculty and staff, who are working every day to fulfill the promise of RWU Law by raising the level of legal discourse, in Rhode Island and beyond.