Linda Rekas Sloan | President, Rhode Island Bar Association
1. What does it mean to you to be named president of the R.I. Bar Association? I have served on numerous bar associations that have provided me with some of my career’s best professional experiences and opportunities. Serving as president gives me a chance to give back.
2. What are your policy priorities in this one-year position? This is my chance to show that, as a profession, it is our responsibility to “pay it forward” – to remind lawyers that when you take the time to offer guidance to a young lawyer, a woman lawyer, an attorney of color, it might shape the path of their career.
3. Are there enough lawyers going into practice in Rhode Island today? I don’t think anyone would argue there are not enough lawyers. Some would argue there are not enough jobs for new law school graduates or not enough affordable legal-service resources for those with modest means. RIBAR participated with the Supreme Court in crafting a set of rules for “limited-scope” legal services last year that could help fill that gap. It allows the public to contract lawyers on a piecemeal basis, so they have expert assistance without having to commit to a large fee upfront.
In addition, RIBAR has a referral service that [matches] attorneys with [clients] on a reduced hourly rate.
4. PBN has reported on an increase in Rhode Island lawyers opening solo firms early in their career. What do you think of this trend? Rhode Island never had many large law firms. The norm is small firms [and] it’s exciting to see attorneys open their own firm. RIBAR works hard to provide mentor programs, practical skills training and referral services so new lawyers are well- equipped. Law schools work to provide more skills-oriented education, as well. Having a well-defined skill to ensure work is consistently coming in is crucial, [given] the competition.
5. As president of RIBAR, how will you further strengthen the state’s legal industry? One thing we are working on is having self-help technology training available for lawyers to become more efficient in their day-to-day practice. We are also looking at programming to help lawyers learn to market themselves. The legal industry is constantly changing. Helping members adapt with technology and new approaches to the delivery of legal services is essential.