Peter V. Lacouture, environmental and utilities partner at Robinson and Cole LLP, was recently named the Rhode Island Bar Association’s 2012 recipient of the Ralph P. Semonoff Award for Professionalism. The award honors the bar’s late president and the importance he placed on justice and public service. Lacouture, who has practiced law in Providence since 1972, represents clients in siting and permitting large infrastructure projects, negotiating related cultural-resource agreements and developing standard contracts for distributed generation facilities in Rhode Island. Lacouture holds an LL.B. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. degree from Yale University.
PBN: Who would you say influenced your career?
LACOUTURE: As I thought about the Semonoff Award, I realized how important mentors and teachers had been to my development as a lawyer. I had a number of great mentors and teachers during my early years of practice at Tillinghast, Collins and Graham. My father, Paul, who was a lawyer in Dayton, Ohio, was also a very strong influence in my development as a lawyer.
PBN: Technology seems to be a prevalent theme in your resume. How did a lawyer become involved with technology?
LACOUTURE: I was involved with technology before I became a lawyer. While at Yale in the late 1960s, I learned to program and subsequently worked at the Yale Computer Center. At the time, the four-hour, semester-long computer-programming course was a noncredit course. After I started practicing law, I remained involved with technology.
PBN: You are involved with a number of community organizations and serve as a volunteer firefighter. What motivates you to take on these additional tasks?
LACOUTURE: My initial involvement with Exeter Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2 is an interesting example of how things develop. Thirty years ago, the then-president of the fire company asked me to represent it in the purchase and financing of a new fire engine. After the closing, I innocently offered firefighting assistance to the chief. ... I am now president and deputy chief of the company. Similarly, in the mid-1980s, some friends and neighbors were interested in forming a watershed group to protect the watersheds of the Wood and Pawcatuck rivers. They asked if I would help them incorporate the new organization. I did and served as the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association’s second president. •