David M. Gilden made his connection with Providence as a Brown University student, then went to Boston to earn his law degree. But Rhode Island had gotten a hold on this Connecticut native. He recalled it as “a bit of an experiment” when he took a chance on the Ocean State as the place where he would settle.
More than 30 years later, the outstanding results of the “experiment” are ingrained in the business landscape of the state. Gilden has represented manufacturers, real estate developers, financial institutions and nearly all sectors of the business community. He has been immersed in the changing environment of the legal profession and along the way, given his time and expertise to many community organizations.
A founding partner of Partridge Snow & Hahn, Gilden is proud of the firm’s accomplishments as it marks its 25th anniversary April.1. But just as important is his enthusiasm for the yearlong 25/25 initiative that gives back to the community.
PBN: Why did you decide to practice in Rhode Island? Did you have a legal specialty in mind?
GILDEN: I graduated from Brown in 1979 and went to Boston for law school, and then I thought it would be interesting to try Providence. I had no connections, except to Brown. At the time, I was thinking more in terms of family life and quality of life. I was interviewing with law firms in Providence and I was very attracted to the people I met at Tillinghast Collins & Graham. It was a great opportunity for me. When I started out as a new associate in a large firm, I did whatever they told me to do. I was hoping to move to commercial real estate as my practice.
PBN: What was the general climate for a legal practice in Rhode Island when you began, as far as establishing yourself?