Instilling Confidence

Headshot of Stephen Lapatin, 1L

Stephen Lapatin, RWU Class of 2020

Juris DoctorStudent

Ask Stephen Lapatin about himself and he’ll instinctively shrug that he’s just a normal guy. A native of Cranston, R.I., the son of a veteran Providence cop, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Steve is content to maintain an unassuming persona for all those who ask.

But dig a little deeper – ask how he spent his summer, where he spends his time outside class, what kind of student he is – and his answers point to anything but a typical 2L. An athlete, he pitched for URI’s baseball team – an experience that engendered both a faith in teamwork, and a distinct competitive streak – “finding that balance between the competitive and the collegial,” as he puts it.

“I’ve worked hard to take advantage of every opportunity I’ve been provided with at RWU Law,” Steve says. “I know that what I’ve been able to accomplish so far has prepared me to be the type of lawyer that is in demand once I graduate.”

Taking advantage of opportunity has led Steve to a spot on Law Review, a top-ten ranking in his class, and a summer internship with United States District Court Judge John McConnell after his 1L year. 

“I firmly believe it’s important for the legal community to have confidence in RWU Law graduates. Based on my experiences, I think it’s evident that this confidence exists – which affirms my decision to come to RWU Law.” 

His time at Federal Court with Judge McConnell not only provided an invaluable experiential learning opportunity; it also focused his efforts in the classroom. 

“Interning with Judge McConnell was a great experience,” Steve says. “Reporting to the Federal Courthouse every day, rolling up my sleeves and drafting memos, doing legal research and interacting with the judge shaped my perspective of how I now approach my academic career.”

As for where his approach to law school will take him? “I think Rhode Island would be a great place to practice law after graduation,” he replies. “I’d love to follow in my father’s footsteps as a Roger Williams Law grad serving the legal community in the state.”