Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP, is pleased to announce that James A. Ruggieri and Gerald C. DeMaria were recently recognized in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Their areas of expertise include product liability litigation defense and personal injury litigation defense. James Ruggieri also maintains an active employment law practice.
The Best Lawyers of America is considered one the foremost peer-reviewed resources for selecting the best legal talent worldwide. For the current edition, only five percent of lawyers in private practice were selected as Best Lawyers.
In addition to these designations, Gerald DeMaria was also named a “Lawyer of the Year” recipient for his work in the area of personal injury litigation defense. This honor is based upon the extremely high evaluations that he received among his peers within the State of Rhode Island.
The overall process begins when lawyers are nominated for consideration. Those who receive high peer reviews undergo an additional validation process. Only then can these attorneys be recognized by Best Lawyers.
Thomas R. Bender is now Of Counsel to Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney after previously serving as Associate Counsel in the Office of Vice President and General Counsel at Brown University. He also once served as the managing partner at a regional, insurance-defense law firm.
A fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and recognized by “Best Lawyers” and “Super Lawyers,” he has appeared before the R.I. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
During a distinguished career of more than 25 years, his clients have included major corporations engaged in mass tort litigation, hospitals and physicians, as well as leading universities and individual veterans and students. He also has familiarity with Title IX litigation within a broad portfolio of legal experience.
“We are delighted that Tom is joining Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney. He is an outstanding attorney whose expertise in both trial and appellate practice as well as his successful tenure as in-house counsel at a great Ivy League university further enhance the range of services that we can offer our clients,” said Managing Partner James A. Ruggieri.
A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Thomas Bender received his law degree from Washington and Lee University.
The law firm of Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney LLP has recently announced the opening of an office suite in Hartford, Connecticut. The space is located on the 14th floor of 100 Pearl Street in the heart of the city’s rejuvenated central business district. The move took effect June 1.
Managing Partner James A. Ruggieri explained. “Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney has been serving the needs of corporate clients in neighboring Connecticut since the inception of our law firm almost 70 years ago. Now, we have a base of operation in the heart of the state’s capital to better serve our growing and existing Connecticut clientele.”
Ruggieri added that the move to Hartford marked the result of a three year strategic plan. “First, in 2016 we relocated our Providence headquarters to much larger, more efficient, and more modern office space on Dorrance Street in Providence. Shortly thereafter, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney opened a convenient Boston office at 400 Atlantic Avenue, at Independence Wharf, near the historic South Station transportation hub. Presently, we have expanded our footprint in Connecticut as well,” he said, adding: “as a result of all of these measures, we are especially well-positioned to serve the needs of our clients throughout Southern Connecticut.
With 18 lawyers, Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney ranks among the top ten law firms in Rhode Island, according to the 2019 Book of Lists which is published by the Providence Business News.
The firm represents primarily large and small corporations as well as numerous leading insurance companies within the areas of litigation, insurance law, employment, transportation, and workers’ compensation defense.
Peter E. Garvey is the partner-in-charge of the firm’s Connecticut practice.
Sarah E. Wheeler has joined HCC as an Associate in the Workers’ Compensation Department. She is licensed to practice before the state courts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. She is also admitted before the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.
Sarah began her legal practice in 2006, defending employers and insurers before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. She then sharpened her litigation skills by representing, at jury trials, plaintiffs and defendants involved in negligence cases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During this time, she also represented employees in workers’ compensation matters.
She eventually resumed her representation of employers and insurers exclusively before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, where she is now especially well versed in every aspect of workers’ compensation defense.
Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Miami Law School in Coral Gables, Florida and is a graduate of Boston University.
Gerald M. Miele, HCC administrator and financial officer, was recently honored by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly with the publication’s inaugural Excellence in the Law Award.
The program was conducted at the Downtown Providence Marriott on April 9th before a crowded audience of the state’s bench and bar. Governor Gina Raimondo served as the keynote speaker and heralded the achievements of all of the award recipients.
Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly honored a diverse group of individuals representing a wide range of accomplishments within the legal community. Categories included up and coming lawyers, in-house counsel, leading practitioners, pro bono honorees as well as administrative personnel.
Gerald Miele was recognized for a career that has spanned more than two decades of service to the legal profession as well as his most recent contributions as the administrator and financial officer at HCC which he joined in 2017. Susan A. Bocamazo, the publisher of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly noted several specific accomplishments.
On any given day, she said, Gerald Miele manages the firm’s finances, interacts with building contractors, negotiates with vendors, and oversees human resources and personnel matters. He is also responsible for upgrading the firm’s cybersecurity procedures and software systems and has developed new data recovery systems.
In addition, he has taken a leadership role in improving the firm’s social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Ms. Bocamazo added.
Finally, he was also recognized for his civic engagement as chair of the Rules Committee for US Figure Skating and as a board member and coach for Smithfield Youth Soccer.
HCC was a proud sponsor of this event.
(Gerald Miele, at top left, is seen accepting the Rhode Island Excellence in the Law Award from Barry Bridges of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly. He is also seen seated next to several of his HCC colleagues. At his right are J. David Freel and Paul S. Callaghan. Stephen B. Lang is seated at the far left.)