Updated March 27 at 6:35pm

Partners, staff on equal footing at Robinson & Cole

By John Larrabee
Contributing Writer
At the Providence office of Robinson & Cole, staff are never treated second class. More

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Partners, staff on equal footing at Robinson & Cole

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At the Providence office of Robinson & Cole, staff are never treated second class.

That philosophy even extends into areas that include client events, such as a recent cocktail party that included partners, attorneys and staff members. Employees were encouraged to mingle with clients, never being called upon for support at the catered event.

“It was a huge success,” said Diane Cosman, a paralegal with the firm.

Regional Business Development and Marketing Manager Nicole Babine Campbell said that the firm’s partners in the Providence office want to encourage staff members to attend Robinson & Cole-hosted events.

“The working relationships that staff members cultivate with clients help the firm to deliver a more personal level of service that mirrors the culture of the Greater Providence business community,” she said.

That respectful and egalitarian atmosphere is one of the things that makes the law firm one of the best places to work in Rhode Island. Winner in the Small-Employer Category in this year’s Best Places to Work awards program, Robinson & Cole LLP is a 160-year-old Connecticut firm that has recently expanded well beyond Hartford. Today there are 370 full-time employees, including 200 attorneys. They work in nine offices, including branches in New York City, Boston, Manhattan Beach, Cal., and Sarasota, Fla. The Providence office opened five years ago; 15 people now work there.

The firm mostly handles business affairs and business litigation.

The collegial attitude extends to those working at other locations as well.

“We’re a regional firm, so that can make it hard to meet people from other offices,” Cosman said. “But Howard Schaefer, the chief operating officer, was here twice over the winter. Once he was here for our chili cook-off. He made his own.”

Cosman said that employees consider the benefits package top notch. “It’s great,” Cosman said. “We have a 401(k), with the firm matching up to 6.5 percent. I now have three weeks vacation, and I don’t know how many sick days. We have [Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island], that’s the best health plan, and other health coverage – dental, short-term disability, you name it.”

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