general, and then a judge, so he wasn’t
able to take the case. My opposing counsel
had also inherited his case; he represented
the defendant from a lawyer who then
became a judge as well. So we were both
not the original lawyers on the case.
There was some very dramatic
testimony. I was cross-examining the
defendant, and things were getting a
little bit testy, a little bit hot, and this is
before there were metal detectors in the
courtrooms. So he began to reach into his
inside pocket, and out of the corner of my
eye, I saw the jury was kind of cowering a
little bit, and the sheriff was walking briskly
toward him, and I guess people got the
impression that he was reaching for a gun.
He wasn’t, he was reaching for his
eyeglasses. That was kind of a dramatic
Q: I believe it.
A: Another dramatic moment [came]
when I was cross-examining his wife, who
claimed that the defendant had only shot
the gun once. We were able to establish
that he had shot the gun a number of
times, and things got pretty emotional
at that point. We were able to recover
against the grandfather, and initially there
was a claim that there was no insurance
coverage. But after the trial we managed
to get some insurance coverage in place to
pay for the judgment.
Q: How often do dramatic moments like
that happen for you in trial?
A: More often than not. More often than
not there’s a highlight of the case and
you can almost feel the energy in the
air. Sometimes on direct examination.
Sometimes it’s just a client telling their
[story], testifying about the situation, and
doing it so well and so emotionally that you
can just feel it, and the whole courtroom
can feel it.
Q: Any other particularly memorable
A: There was one trial in which my
participation was supposed to be very
limited until the day of the trial, when I had
to act as lead counsel on a very difficult
intellectual property case in federal court.
I had been retained as local counsel,
who in most instances is more or less just
shepherding the case through, being at
court appearances, but really taking a
second seat to the lead counsel, who in
this occasion was an intellectual property
lawyer from out of state. And he did just
an enormous job in the pretrial discovery
stages getting all the documents that were
necessary, and he also did a terrific job in
his opening statement.
Then, after he called his first witness, it
became very apparent that he really did
not know how to examine a witness or
how to put documents into evidence, or
exhibits, how to get exhibits entered, and
he just didn’t know how to do it. And it
became necessary for me at that point to
take over the handling of the trial.
Q: How often does that happen to you?
A: That was the first time that’s ever
happened, and hopefully the last.
Q: Many lawyers tell us that fewer cases
are actually going to trial these days. Is
that your experience as well?
A: Yes. There are various means to
resolve cases short of trial and we try to
take advantage of them all whenever we
can. So I will do my best to try and get a
resolution short of trial.
Q: You participated in the Trial Lawyers
Care effort. What was that experience
A: That was very rewarding emotionally.
I met families of some of the 9/11 victims,
and it was just a very moving, emotional
experience all the way around. I had
represented two different families. One of
the families’ cases eventually wound up in
the hands of someone else, because I had
represented the mother and there was a
surviving widow and children that were
entitled to the proceeds, and they had
brought a separate claim.
In the other claim, I represented
the family of an individual who was a
quadriplegic. He had been on the 103rd
floor and he just couldn’t escape. The
family was a wonderful, nice family—very
hardworking, very dedicated, and I was
able to help them get compensation
through the fund.
Q: How did you become legal counsel for
Defenders of Animals?
A: That was my wedding gift to my wife.
She’s a great animal advocate. I’ve always
loved animals, but she really got me
involved in that cause. I’ve now been legal
counsel to Defenders of Animals for pretty
close to 20 years.
Q: What kind of work have you done for
A: The group successfully lobbied for
the extinguishment of the use of the gas
chamber in the animal shelters. They
successfully lobbied for animal rights
legislation. In the courtrooms, we were
able to save a number of animals that
had been scheduled to be euthanized [by
proving] they were picked up unlawfully.
Currently we have a case challenging
Pawtucket’s municipal ordinance that
will not allow a person to own or harbor
a pit bull in the city. We believe that to
be a direct violation of state law, which
includes anti-breed-specific legislation,
and prevents municipalities from enacting
breed-specific legislation. As a matter of
fact, I was in court on that case today.
We also have a pending case that is
nearing resolution now in which we claim
that the city of Providence euthanized a
dog improperly—they did not keep the
dog for the required holding period. We
brought into issue the entire practices of the
Providence animal control office, and I think
we’ve effectuated some changes there.
Q: What other organizations are you
A: The Rhode Island Association for
Justice is always near and dear to my
heart. I served as president in 2001 and,
as a matter of fact, was sworn in just days
after 9/11. That was a very moving, very
I’m now involved in bar association
activities. We have one of the best bars in
the country. It’s very collegial; I wouldn’t
trade it for the world.
Q: Last question: How do you find the
hours in the day?
A: Well, there’s 24, so I use as many of
them as I have to.