53 RI Bar J., No. 2, Article 3 (September, 2004). Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice's Annual Address At Rhode Island Bar Association's Annual Meeting.

AuthorHon. Frank J. Williams

Rhode Island Bar Journal

Volume 53.

53 RI Bar J., No. 2, Article 3 (September, 2004).

Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice's Annual Address At Rhode Island Bar Association's Annual Meeting

Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice's Annual Address At Rhode Island Bar Association's Annual MeetingHon. Frank J. WilliamsFrank J. Williams is the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme CourtOver the past year, the persistent, driving drumbeat of justice has infused this Judiciary with a new energy, a revived commitment to public service, and an enduring vision of equal justice.

When I consider our accomplishments, despite what at times seemed overwhelming obstacles, I am reminded of the Scot, William Wallace portrayed in the movie Braveheart. William Wallace and his rag tag army, although greatly out-armed and outnumbered, found the strength to risk it all for the causes of freedom and independence.

Granted, Hollywood has not come knocking and our cause may not be as glamorous. And, granted I am no Mel Gibson. But, what we fight for is equally noble and our resolve equally unyielding. As members of our legal system, we are the last refuge of democracy. With your help, our Judiciary continues to insist on the administration of justice with uncompromising honor and unquestioned judicial independence.

It was only a year ago that I issued my "Call to Arms" and you responded in force. I challenged you to increase representation to the indigent members of our community. And you responded. Eighteen major law firms are now committing an additional 421 attorneys to this cause. This is no small offering, and I applaud their commitment. But the need continues to grow and the citizens of our state now look to the rest of you. John Roney, his successor Jametta Alston, and I will continue our efforts to ensure that all of our lawyers participate in this representation.

The Station Fire inspired me to challenge you to conduct yourselves with integrity, to harness resources, intellect, and expertise in order to bring this case to justice with civility. You responded, all of you.

Finally, I challenged you to participate in our Justice Rules initiative and your response has been remarkable. This year, 342 attorneys and judges served on legal teaching teams; we reached almost 37,000 students in 13 communities throughout the state. You answered the...

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