STEVEN J. BOYAJIAN was recently named a Rising Star on the 2016 Super Lawyers list. No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the state are recognized as Rising Stars.
What inspired you to pursue a career in law?
A 1949 letter to my grandfather from a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau hung in my father’s law office on the East Side. That student attorney provided pro bono services to my grandfather and went on to have a successful career at a prestigious firm in Boston. I have the letter in my office now and it reminds me both of the responsibility we have as lawyers to help those in need and the opportunity we have to enjoy successful careers.
What, in your opinion, is the makeup of a good lawyer?
Honesty, courtesy, common sense and assiduous preparation. I think that the best lawyers display all of these qualities and they gain the respect of their adversaries, the courts and their clients for doing so. That respect, earned over years, makes them extremely effective in achieving their clients’ goals.
Why did you decide to focus your practice on business bankruptcy law?
I wouldn’t say that business bankruptcy is the focus of my practice so much as the foundation of it. One renowned practitioner called bankruptcy the last bastion of the generalist because it requires an understanding of multiple disciplines, such as litigation, finance, corporate, and commercial transactions and real estate. A foundation in bankruptcy has allowed me to enjoy an engaging practice where every day brings something new.
From your perspective, what are the greatest challenges to doing business in Rhode Island?
The cost of doing business. TDI and unemployment premiums, property taxes, energy prices and employees’ cost of living are all relatively high in Rhode Island. This leads to thin margins so that businesses have difficulty enduring inevitable and often unpredictable challenges that arise. When coupled with a faltering educational system and low educational attainment, these challenges may prompt new and existing businesses to look elsewhere for opportunity. •