Paula Rosin’s journey

Our classmate Paula Rosin spent 32 years in the Appellate Division of the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office, serving as chief appellate attorney for 18 years prior to her retirement in 2011. She represented clients in hundreds of cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court and appeared before the federal district court for the District of Rhode Island and the First Circuit Court of Appeals. While the appeals she handled were predominantly from criminal cases, she also represented juvenile clients whose cases were adjudicated in the Family Court, as well as parents whose parental rights to their children had been terminated by the Family Court.

In 2005, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office. In 2012, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by the Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and was invited into the membership of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Q&A with Paula… 

Why appellate work?

I gravitated toward appellate work because I’d always loved research and writing. I didn’t leave law school with the intention of practicing indigent criminal defense, but it turned out to be a perfect fit.

Looking back on your career, what do you see as your impact?

What was most important to me was that my clients believed that I had done the very best that I could on their behalf. And I also had clients who impacted my life in profound ways.

Do you plan to slow down at all?

I’ve slowed down quite a bit. For the past three years, I’ve supervised a group of Roger Williams University law students engaged in a women’s prison project during their spring break, and I co-taught a course on advanced appellate advocacy in 2013 and 2014. That’s the extent of my continued involvement in the legal world.

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