40 Years of Practice: Your Reputation Precedes You!, 0217 RIBJ, RIBJ, 65 RI Bar J., No. 4, Pg. 21

AuthorVincent A. DiMonte, Esq. Attorney at Law Johnston, J

40 Years of Practice: Your Reputation Precedes You!

Vol. 65 No. 4 Pg. 21

Rhode Island Bar Journal

February, 2017

January, 2017

Vincent A. DiMonte, Esq. Attorney at Law Johnston, J

On October 20, 2016, I celebrated 40 YEARS as an attorney and counselor of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. It is hard to imagine that I have reached this point, as I can remember all the years of practice that led me here.

The single most important lesson I have learned over 40 years is that your reputation precedes you, based upon who you are and how you practice law. Judges will develop a book on you, and other counsel will as well.

I practice principally in the Rhode Island Family Court, and this is a truly intimate court, where, like the bar in Cheers, everybody knows your name. In the story, The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Dorian Gray is granted the right to remain youthful in appearance, while his portrait reflects his age and actions. Over time, his portrait turns hideous based on his dissolute life. When he dies, his portrait reveals the rapacious and murderous life he lived.

I first came to know that my reputation was "out there" after 15-20 years, when I had a case with Frank Little, Esq., a gentleman, and an honorable senior attorney, who has since passed away. When it occurred that he became opposing counsel on my case, he told me that he had "looked up this guy DiMonte" in order to know what I was like. When we finished the case, he advised me, "You were as good as your reputation said you were."

In an effort to become a Bar Association Officer in 1998, I asked certain members of the House of Delegates to send a letter of recommendation for me to the Nominating Committee. I was astonished to receive a copy of a letter by a (younger) attorney who advised that when she first began to practice law in family court, she observed how I practiced law, and modeled herself after me in the way I respected the court, opposing counsel and opposing parties. I was honored and humbled! That attorney and I have had cases against each other since then, but we have maintained mutual respect to this day.

At the Sheriff's Outing on July 14, 2006, I was approached by someone I had never met, who, however, had good things to say about me, and noted that they just wanted to meet me.

We all have our individual characteristics and personalities. We must be ourselves. However, our character remains consistent. It is with our character that...

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