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The 2017 Power List — Attorneys and the Judiciary
Today’s Power List looks at the lawyers and the judiciary who impact Rhode Island’s very fiber. The lawyers play at a multitude of levels -- in the courtroom and making the deals. “Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location ...
Max Wistow, Litigator
The cranky and wildly talented Wistow is the only holdover from the 2016 list.
He cleaned up the 38 Studios mess and recovered more than $60 million from the likes of Wells Fargo to a range of local law firms.
Now, he serves as the special investigator into the biggest pension failure in Rhode Island history — the StJoseph Health Services pension fund collapse.
He is now battling with Rhode Island Attorney General as well as Bishop Thomas Tobin and the Diocese of Providence.
As we were told in 2016, “Some top lawyers are known as a lawyers’ lawyerWistow is the lawyer most lawyers would hire to represent them.”
Judge Brian Stern
He currently has the biggest case in Rhode Island.
Stern is now presiding over the largest pension fund collapse in Rhode Island history and the case has nearly every twist and turn — the Catholic Church, questions about the competency of the Attorney General’s review of the sale of CharterCARE in 2014, and the impact that the failed pension fund will have 2,800 pensioners.
If that wasn't enough, add into the case high profile attorneys like Max Wistow, former Attorney General Arlene Violet, and receiver Stephen Del Sesto.
Mark Geragos, Lawyer to the Stars
Mark Geragos has represented the late Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Nicole Richie singer Chris Brown and Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL for collusion
Now, Geragos represents Alex and Ani in a range of legal matters including two unrelated lawsuits by former employees.
See his interview on GoLocal LIVE HERE.
Geragos explained how he met Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian - and spoke to how the "company culture" brought him in.
"I was at a charity event at Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard -- she was doing a fundraiser for an Armenian orphanage," said Geragos"They have a unique blend of doing humanitarian work…”
He could make the 2017 Power List under legal, business, and maybe even a little bit of politics.
This year, Savage makes the Power List for Attorneys and the JudiciaryHe helps to run one of the biggest law firms in the state — Shechtman Halperin Savage, LLP.
His firm represents RI Commerce Corporation and it has papered the endless number of subsidy deals executed by the agency.
Savage has chaired the RI Airport Corporation and helped develop the strategy of Green's tremendous growth over the past couple of years.
His wife is the highly respected and now retired Superior Court Judge Judith Savage.
The eyes of Rhode Island are now on Deming Sherman. He has been named the special master to try and correct the chaotic nearly half-a-billion tech train wreck that is UHIP.
Once the managing partner of then-Providence’s biggest “white shoe” law firm Edwards & Angell, Sherman finds himself now in a very public position -- one with ramifications for tens of thousands of Rhode Island's most vulnerable.
As William Safire described the term white shoe, “It is either a dispassionate description of elitism or a passionate derogation of old-fogeyism.” The original reference was that those who worked at such firms who put away their white buck shoes at Labor Day for the winter.
Sherman will not only have to correct the financial and technological disaster, but he must do so with many a critic watching that he does it in a manner that affirms he will not give special favor to Governor Gina Raimondo — who he has been a political donor to -- or to Deloitte, who his firm has done substantial legal work for.
Marilyn Shannon McConaghy
The insider’s insiderStarted her career with super-lobbyist Joe Walsh when they worked together at the firm of Tillinghast, Licht and SemonoffNow, she is legal counsel at the Rhode Island Department of Revenue.
She is a very significant influencer in the Department of Revenue and with the Raimondo administrationShe influences everything in from the lottery to motor vehicles to taxation.
Maybe it's the times — Steve Brown is in the middle of numerous high profile issues.
As head of the ACLU, Brown and the organization are battling for voters' rights, UHIP, panhandling, and are now investigating the I-95 shooting by Rhode Island and Providence Police.
Actions by the ACLU have led to the appointment of the special master in the UHIP case.
“Given the State’s complete failure to resolve ongoing problems with the UHIP computer system, we are pleased that the Court has appointed a special master to compel the State into compliance. The State’s repeated and ongoing inability to timely provide needed assistance to hungry families is appalling. Today the court formally recognized this through the appointment of a special master," said Brown.
In the recent ACLU case against the Rhode Island State Police for allegedly abusing its power by retaliating against Marissa Lacoste, who declined to serve as an informant, Brown offered the following:
“The coercive practices exercised by the State Police against MsLacoste are deeply troublingThis raw abuse of police power to punish a person guilty of no crime should offend any fair-minded personWe are hopeful that a court will correct the injustice that has been done to her.”
Perhaps at no other time has the Rhode Island ACLU been involved with more high profile cases simultaneously.
Cervenka Green Ducharme Antonelli
The all-women law firm opened in 2017 comprised of senior female attorneys in the market.
Jennifer Cervenka, Rachelle Green, Diana Ducharme, and Patricia Antonelli have come together to form Cervenka Green Ducharme Antonelli (CGDA) with Emily Migliaccio as the firm’s first associate.
The firm looked smart when it was launchedNow, in an era of endless sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace, the model for the law firm may be genius.
Judge Will Smith
Federal Court Judge Will Smith took swift action by naming a special master to try to address the failed UHIP systemThe move is a major embarrassment to Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration.
Smith was former legal counsel to then-Mayor of Warwick Lincoln ChafeeIt was then-Governor Chafee who signed the original Deloitte contract, but it was Raimondo’s administration that launched UHIP despite being warned by federal authorities that the system was not ready.
This case is fraught is political and financial implications.
Federal Court special master cases tend to elevate the reputation of the overseeing federal judge.
When Judge Raymond Pettine died in 2003, the New York Times wrote, “Judge Raymond JPettine, a federal judge in Rhode Island whose rulings in several prominent cases included ordering an overhaul of the Rhode Island prison system …In 1977, three years after state inmates filed a suit claiming their living conditions were unconstitutional, Judge Pettine took an unannounced tour of the prison and then ruled that inmates were living among rats and cockroaches in conditions that would 'shock the conscience of any reasonable citizen.’”
The Power List - Judiciary and Lawyers
The Power List - Who Makes Rhode Island Move
The Power List - Business
The Power List - Education and Health
The Power List - Politics
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