President's Message May/Jun 2019



One Last Piece of Advice
Carolyn R. Barone, Esq.

President, Rhode Island Bar Association

Being president has its moments of stress and many nights of working in and past the wee small hours of the morning (no different than the majority of days in the life of any lawyer), but responding to critical issues that touch upon the business of law and lawyering and making decisions on matters that will ripen in the future have been very gratifying.”   
   
I am continuously surprised by the number of times during this past year colleagues have offered their sympathies to me and asked if I regretted being elected president of the Bar Association. My response is consistent and never tentative: “Absolutely not.” Being president has its moments of stress and many nights of working in and past the wee small hours of the morning (no different than the majority of days in the life of any lawyer), but responding to critical issues that touch upon the business of law and lawyering and making decisions on matters that will ripen in the future have been very gratifying. I, like every past bar president, have had the benefit of growing into this leadership position. Being a member of the House of Delegates and spending years on the Executive Committee, I had the benefit of learning from past bar leaders the finer points of how the Association conducts its business to maintain its objectives as set forth in Bar Association’s Bylaws.[fn 1] My objective during the past year has been to preserve the Association’s position as the leading provider of continuing legal education at unparalleled low-cost to members; to sustain its ability to create and maintain programs that improve the quality of our lawyering, law practices, and personal well-being; and of utmost importance, to continue its commitment to public outreach by providing free and reduced-fee legal services to our citizens who qualify.

If my objective has been met, then it is the result of two hard-working groups: your Executive Committee and the entire staff of the Rhode Island Bar Association. During my tenure as president, I was blessed to have the support of the following Executive Committee members: David Bazar, Nicole Benjamin, Richard D’Addario, Janet Gilligan, Christopher Gontarz, Michael Jolin, Lynda Laing, Mark Morse, Holly Rao, J. Richard Ratcliffe, and Linda Rekas Sloan. On crucial issues that came before the Association, their voices were strong and their opinions, albeit varied, were solid. I thank each and every member of this Committee for their wisdom and guidance.

When you become a frequent visitor to the Association’s Law Center, you realize that it takes a small village, above and beyond the membership, to carry out the Association’s objectives. This village is comprised of professionals, administrative staff, and clerical personnel who work daily to ensure that the programs established for the members’ benefit and public outreach are properly administered. The entire staff is dedicated to supporting the Bar’s programs and providing assistance to the governing bodies. I thank each and every staff member not only for the respect and courtesy shown to me, but, more importantly, for all the work you do for all members of the Bar Association.

Returning to our Association’s Article II Objectives, I am taking this opportunity to “...encourage and cultivate social intercourse...” by inviting all of you to attend the Rhode Island Bar Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting (Thursday, June 13, and Friday, June 14). Consider the Annual Meeting as a way to spend two days away from your office without feeling guilty. There is no dearth of seminars and presentations from which you may choose to attend and receive your CLE credits. In addition to seminars, the Annual Meeting will present two internationally renowned plenary speakers, Loretta LaRoche, a stress management expert cum comedian (Thursday morning), and Jack Marshall, a legal ethics expert cum entertainer (Friday afternoon). At the Awards Reception on Thursday afternoon, continue to enjoy conversations with your colleagues while also honoring and congratulating our awards recipients. At Friday’s Annual Meeting Luncheon, I will be passing my gavel to our incoming president, David Bazar, who will be sworn in by Chief Justice Paul Suttell. David will ably and honorably carry out the duties demanded of the president, and I look forward to being a part of his Executive Committee.

This is my final President’s Message. The first time I spoke to you through these pages, I relayed the story of my very first day employed as an attorney. I will end this message recalling that same day. I was having lunch with my law partner at McGarry’s Restaurant. I revealed three pieces of advice he gave me that day: your word is your bond; sleep with dogs and you will wake up with fleas; and if you lie to a judge or me, you are fired. There was a fourth piece of advice given that same day, the origins of which are found in many biblical passages, and derivations through the centuries are abundant. While continuing to sip on my root beer, I heard the words, “When you leave this earth, people will always remember one of two things about you: your good name or your bad name. You decide.”

I am both honored and humbled to have been your steward during the past year. It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve you.

1 ARTICLE II - Objectives
    Section 2.1. The objectives of the Association shall be to uphold and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and the Constitution and laws of Rhode Island and to maintain representative, democratic government; to advance the science of jurisprudence; to promote the administration of justice; to uphold the honor and dignity of the process of law; to apply its knowledge and experience in the field of the law to the promotion of the public good; to encourage and cultivate social intercourse among the members of the Rhode Island Bar; and to cooperate with the American Bar Association, other national, regional and state bar associations and the local bar associations in the State of Rhode Island. (Rhode Island Bar Association Bylaws)