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.)
Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP proudly sponsored a successful blood drive at the law firm’s Providence offices on March 5th in memory of the late Gianna Cirella of Warwick who faced a challenge too great to fight.
The blood drive was held in conjunction with the Rhode Island Blood Center. The firm’s lawyers, staff and even community members participated. Conference rooms throughout the law firm were transformed into temporary medical facilities.
Thirty-one donors rolled up their sleeves that day in honor of Gianna’s memory. Eleven persons donated for the very first time. Thanks to one and all for participating.
On November 1, 2017, Gianna passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. “Not every story has a happy ending,” said her mother, Tara Cirella, adding “but everyone deserves the fighting chance that blood donors give them.”
Tara Cirella, Gianna’s mother, is a longstanding and highly regarded HCC staff member. She is the firm’s billing and accounts receivable coordinator.
Within days of developing a sore throat, Gianna developed pneumonia and sepsis, a life-threatening infection in her blood. During the 16-day fight for her life, she needed 174 blood, platelet and plasma transfusions, which came from Rhode Island Blood Center donors.
“Gianna would not have survived one day without blood. I hope she brings awareness and action. I hope she makes people not afraid to donate. I hope she shows how very important it is to give blood,” Tara Cirella said.
For more information about the Gina Cirella Memorial Fund, visit www.gistrong.org.
(HCC attorney Brian W. Haynes, pictured above, participates in the firm’s blood drive.)
Governor Gina Raimondo recently announced the appointment of Susan Pepin Fay to serve as a judge on the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. The Rhode Island State Senate subsequently confirmed her nomination, and Judge Fay assumed her position on the court on February 11.
In announcing Susan Pepin Fay’s appointment, along with several others at a State House ceremony, the Governor emphasized the importance of a diverse judiciary.
“Obviously, I am pleased and privileged by this appointment,” Judge Fay said at the time, adding, “I will do all that I can possibly do to best serve the interests of the people of Rhode Island as a member of the judiciary.”
Judge Fay has had a long and distinguished career at HCC, joining the law firm in 1997. She has represented employers and insurers before the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, the Massachusetts Board of Industrial Accidents, and the U.S. Department of Labor. She has also successfully argued precedent-setting cases before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Judge Fay earned her law degree, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and received her B.A. from Boston College. She served on the board of editors of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly and is a former member of the Rhode Island Supreme Court Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution.
She has also been honored for her service on the board of directors of Young Voices and has been actively involved with the Meeting Street School and the Autism Project of Rhode Island.
“This is a bittersweet occasion as we say goodbye to Susan Pepin Fay. She has been an outstanding colleague and friend to all of us here at Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney for two decades. Without question, she is an excellent choice to serve the people of Rhode Island,” said HCC managing partner James A. Ruggieri.
“We are indeed proud that one of our former partners has assumed the Workers’ Compensation Court bench. She brings invaluable experience to the court as an exceptional litigator. We wish her well,” said James T. Hornstein, managing partner of the HCC Workers’ Compensation Department.
Higgins, Cavanagh & Cooney is pleased to announce that Courtney L. Manchester, J. David Freel and Kristina I. Hultman have become partners of the firm.
Courtney L. Manchester defends insurance companies, leading employers throughout the state, and international corporations on workers’ compensation cases. She appears regularly on behalf of clients in matters involving domestic relations before the R.I. Family Court. Additionally, she has expertise interpreting long-term disability contracts. She received her B.A with honors in English from Wesleyan University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She joined the firm in 2012 after five years of active practice.
J. David Freel represents corporate clients in all phases of litigation within the areas of insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability, product liability, and employment law. He earned his B.A., with highest distinction, from the Pennsylvania State University and graduated magna cum laude from Roger Williams University School of Law, where he served as the executive articles editor of the law review. He is admitted to practice in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey. He joined HCC in 2011.
Kristina I. Hultman focuses her practice on product liability, premises liability, insurance defense, and professional liability. She has had extensive trial experience on behalf of major corporations. She also holds leadership positions in the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island and the Defense Research Institute. She graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Roger Williams University School of Law, where she was an editor of the law review. She is admitted to practice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She joined the firm in 2010.
ADRIANNA HUGHES has joined HCC as an Associate in the Litigation Department. She is admitted to practice before the state courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. She previously was employed as an attorney with a regional, Boston-based law firm where she gained valuable litigation experience.
Adrianna is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton and a graduate of Boston College Law School. She began her legal education at Suffolk University Law School during which time she received the Best Oral Advocate Award – Legal Practice Skills, Best Brief Award – Legal Practice Skills, and Jurisprudence Award – Property II.
During law school, Adrianna served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard T. Tucker of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Before law school, she was employed as a paralegal at law firms in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Rhode Island Bar Association and Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association.