2019 Award of Merit

07/03/2019 -The Award of Merit is awarded in recognition of many years of faithful and diligent service to the Rhode Island Bar Association and the legal profession.


Barbara L. Margolis, Esq.,
Deputy Disciplinary Counsel at the RI Supreme Court Office of Disciplinary Counsel, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and the New England School of Law, is honored with the 2019 Award of Merit. Barbara has served on several Bar committees over the years, including, but not limited to: the Family Court Bench/Bar Committee, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Legal Issues Committee, the Task Force on Divorce, the Government Lawyers Committee, and several awards committees. Barbara has also been a longstanding member of the Public Service Involvement Committee (formerly the Legal Services Committee). As a member, she has continually volunteered to assist with projects that expand equal access to legal representation, especially focusing her contributions toward strengthening pro bono legal assistance. She has been the lead developer, organizer and/or speaker at nine Continuing Legal Education programs offered free to volunteer attorneys in exchange for their membership in the Volunteer Lawyer Program and acceptance of a pro bono case over the past 16 years. In 2001, Barbara volunteered for the Bar’s Rhode Island Breast Cancer Advocacy Project and moderated a corresponding CLE program that placed more than 60 cases assisting women with breast cancer. The Project was later awarded the 2002 Community and Educational Outreach Award from LexisNexis and the National Association of Bar Executives (NABE). From her years of experience at Legal Aid Society of RI representing low-income clients in family law matters, Barbara is keenly aware of the needs of the poor and unrepresented.  She knows exactly, as a planner of public service sponsored CLE seminars, what issues will draw the greatest number of attorneys to volunteer and the corresponding ethical concerns to address.

Barbara has been the “key” to the successful recruitment of outstanding speakers from the Judiciary and private bar resulting in the placement of 50-plus pro bono cases with volunteer attorneys in 2018 alone.  Over the years, hundreds of cases for the poor have been placed because she has been willing to organize and plan so many educational programs. Currently, on the recommendation of the Public Service Involvement Committee members, a seminar series on the topic of the legal and ethical issues surrounding electronic evidence is now being coordinated by Barbara.  This series, “Saw It on the Internet……It Must Be True…,” is being offered in late October and early November.  Once again, Barbara’s efforts, along with all the phenomenal speakers, will promote professional education and the critically needed recruitment of volunteer attorneys. 

In grateful recognition of the major contribution of her time, expertise and energy to the Bar Association membership and its pro bono efforts for those in greatest need, the Award of Merit is presented to Barbara Margolis.