2017 Annual Meeting Highlights

06/27/2017 - This year’s hard-working Annual Meeting Committee, chaired by Bar Executive Committee member Lynda L. Laing, produced a diverse and enriching program. Supporting this effort, many Bar members and the Bar staff worked with the Committee to ensure a seamless presentation of workshops and social events. As a result, the Annual Meeting provided over 1,300 attendees with a diverse range of interesting and informative seminars over the two days. The Meeting offered Bar members outstanding opportunities to learn, to improve their practice, recognize and honor Bar award winners, socialize with colleagues, and fulfill annual CLE requirements.

New 2017-2018 Rhode Island Bar Association President Linda Rekas Sloan was sworn-in by Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell.

Before a full ballroom of enthralled Bar members, Thursday Keynote Speaker Donald B. Verrilli, Solicitor General of the United States from June 2011 to June 2016 under the Obama Administration, discussed what litigating before the Supreme Court in a time of transition means for our nation.


Outgoing President Armando E. Batastini, Esq. thanked the members of the Bar for their support during his presidency as he passed the gavel to incoming president Linda Rekas Sloan, Esq.


Lawyers Are Under Cyber Attack: Understanding the Threat and the Counter-Attack panelists (l-r) Scott R. Schaffer, Esq., David A. Grossbaum, Esq., and Holly R. Rao, Esq., discussed the ways lawyers leave themselves open to attacks and the most frequent types.


The distinguished panelists (l-r) Lauren E. Jones, Esq., Professor Jared Goldstein, Lara E. Montecalvo, Esq., Thomas M. Dickinson, Esq., Hon. Sandra A. Lanni, Hon. Sarah Taft-Carter, Hon. Francis J. Darigan, Jr. (ret.), and Hon. Francis X. Flaherty gave attendees updates on both civil and criminal case law.


Effective Use of Civil Jury Instructions speakers (l-r) Hon. Daniel A. Procaccini, Mark B. Morse, Esq., Kelly A. Kincaid, Esq., and Kara G. Thorvaldsen, Esq. gave perspectives on strategies for drafting meaningful jury instructions, the proper procedure for submitting them, and conferencing with the court.


ESI for Plaintiffs, Solo Practitioners, & Small Firms: How to Catch Up Electronically with the Big Guys presenters (l-r) Hon. Patricia A. Sullivan, George E. Lieberman, Esq., Nicole J. Benjamin, Esq., Andrew S. Tugan, Esq., and Dana Conneally, JD, focused on a realistic, efficient and affordable approach to litigation in a world where there is a new reality- everything is electronic.


The Value of Incorporating Pro Bono Representation into Your Law Practice panelists (l-r) Barbara L. Margolis, Esq., David F. Reilly, Esq., Victoria M. Almeida, Esq., and David N. Bazar, Esq., discussed the challenges of pro bono representation, including limited scope and managing your caseload.

A large crowd gathered to hear remarks from outgoing president Armando E. Batastini, Esq., RI Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul A. Sutell, incoming president Linda Rekas Sloan, and Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger Judicial Excellence Award recipient Superior Court Associate Justice Daniel A. Procaccini.


RI Superior Court Associate Justice Daniel A. Procaccini accepted the Chief Justice Joseph R. Weisberger Judicial Excellence Award from outgoing president Armando E. Batastini, Esq.


The Mechanics of Business Investigations and the Challenge of Serving as an Independent Investigator panelists (l-r) Neil Austin, Esq., Daniel J. Procaccini, Esq., and Matthew Miller, Esq. examined the building blocks necessary for conducting a successful internal investigation.


This year’s Golden Nuggets speakers (l-r  seated) Joseph M. Hall, Esq., John N. Calvino, Esq., (l-r standing) David D. Curtin, Esq., and Matthew F. Callaghan, Jr., Esq. shared their experiences, challenges, and war stories from their many years in practice.


Led by moderator Vincent A. DiMonte, Esq. panelists Martha Krollman, Esq. and James F. Queenan, Esq. examined the implications for both the juvenile defendant and their families in Juvenile Criminal Law: Issues for the Defense and for the Families in Family Court.


Friday plenary speaker Stuart Teicher closed out the Annual Meeting with an entertaining look at how the music, attitude, and lifestyle of legendary trumpeter Miles David allow us to learn about fundamental concepts in attorney ethics.


Attendees took a break between sessions to recharge, catch up with their practice, and chat with colleagues.


Workshop panelists (l-r) Hon. Francis J. Darigan, Jr., Bruce D. Todesco, Esq., Brian J. Lamoureux, Esq., and Meghan C. Barry, Esq. discussed the many challenges facing attorneys opposing pro se parties in state and federal courts in Compassionately and Effectively Dealing with Pro Se Litigants.


Will Your Next Partner Be a Robot? Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Practice of Law panelists (l-r) Frederic S. Ury, Esq., Thomas W. Lyons III, Esq., and Andrew M. Perlman reviewed the increasing influence of artificial intelligence and automation on the practice of law.


The Regulation of Insurance and the Enforcement Process presenters (l-r) Ellen R. Balasco, Esq., Stephen D. Zubiago, Esq., Elizabeth A. Kelleher Dwyer, Esq., Maura C. Travers, Esq., and Melissa E. Darigan, Esq. discussed legal issues facing insurance companies and state regulators of the insurance industry.

State Court E-Filing: Where Are We and Where Are We Going
presenters (l-r standing) Peter Panciocco, Thomas W. Lyons III, Esq., Michael M. Goldberg, Esq., (l-r seated) Lauren E. Jones, Esq., Rhiannon S. Huffman, Esq., and Gail M. Valuk, Esq. discussed the status of the electronic filing system and future developments.

The Nuts and Bolts of a Business Divorce
presenters (l-r) Hon. Brian P. Stern, Jack Cacchiotti, CPA, and Vincent A. Indeglia, Esq. provided attendees with a primer on business divorce, including what it involves, and how to counsel clients.


Residential Landlord and Tenant Law panelists (l-r) Tiffinay Antoch, Esq., Michael D. Crane, Esq., Murray Gereboff, Esq., and Hon. Mary E. McCaffrey offered the perspective of an attorney representing plaintiffs, attorneys representing defendants, and a judge hearing the case.


Dorothy Lohmann Community Service Award winner Erica Laros, Esq. socialized with friends and colleagues at the Annual Awards Reception.


Bar members and award recipients and their guests mingled and enjoyed complimentary hors d’oeuvres before the presentation of Bar awards at the Annual Awards reception.


Joseph T. Houlihan Lifetime Mentor Award recipient Christopher S. Gontarz, Esq. was joined by his family for the presentation of his award.


Denise Aiken, Esq., John Souza, intern at Rhode Island Legal Services, Responsible Parent Project, and Robert D. Oster, Esq. chatted during one of the breaks between workshops.


A Practitioner’s Guide to Best Practices: Practice Management, Client Communications, and Professionalism speaker Susan Leach DeBlasio, Esq. provided new and experienced practitioners with some of the best practices an attorney can adopt to manage his or her practice, communicate with clients, and maintain a professional posture in today’s fast-paced, stress-inducing legal environment


Recent Developments in Environmental & Land Use Law panelists (l-r) Anthony DeSisto, Esq., Christina A. Hoefsmit, Esq., Christopher A. D’Ovidio, Esq., and Jennifer R. Cervenka, Esq., provided environmental, land use, and real estate practitioners with an update on federal and Rhode Island case law developments, regulatory changes, and legislative changes.


The Wrongful Death Act: The Good, The Bad and The Probate panelists (l-r) Steven A. Minicucci, Esq., Patrick C. Barry, Esq., and John S. Foley, Esq. discussed the provisions of the Rhode Island Wrongful Death Act,, including specific statutory provisions and cases interpreting the statutes.