Lunch with Legends: Trailblazers, Trendsetters and Treasures of the Rhode Island Bar, 0617 RIBJ, RIBJ, 65 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 25

Lunch with Legends: Trailblazers, Trendsetters and Treasures of the Rhode Island Bar

Vol. 65 No. 6 Pg. 25

Rhode Island Bar Journal

June, 2017

May, 2017

Paul J. Dimaio was born in Providence in 1942 and raised in the Edgewood section of Cranston. Paul graduated from Boston University in 1965. By 1968, Paul had graduated from Suffolk Law School and had his first child on the way. After a quick stint doing title searches, Paul joined forces with retired Workers' Compensation Judge Jack Rotondi to start their own firm. Paul and Judge Rotondi started at the old Industrial National Bank Building, renting the furniture and using whoever came in that day as a typist. The two eventually joined Anthony Grilli, Sr. and his son, Anthony, Jr., which is when Paul started trying cases - and he has never stopped. Since the mid-1990s, Paul has run his own firm in a historic building on Broadway, which was previously his father's dental practice. He shares the office with wife Priscilla, daughter Stephanie, and a number of other colleagues. In addition to working on his antique car collection, Paul has sat on the bench in Johnston Probate Court for over forty years, and was recently featured in Marc Smerling's podcast "Crimetown" in connection with his representation of Gerry Tillinghast during the Bonded Vault trial. We had the opportunity to sit with this legendary trial lawyer. Excerpts from our conversation follow.

Do you remember what your first car was when you got out of law school?

As my regular car, it was either a '47 Packard, two-door coupe that was old then, or a '50 Chevrolet I paid twenty-five bucks for. That was it. I didn't believe in new-new cars. In fact, I still don't. I collect antique cars. When you do what we do for a living, you need to go and find something that you can see as an accomplishment. Because doing work, what we're doing, is like shoveling sand against the tide. You never see the end. So I go home, I'll fix a starter, and I can rest easier. I see what I did; something we accomplished.

You've tried hundreds of cases. Do you remember your first trial?

It was about a year out of law school - a Hells Angel murder case. At that time, you couldn't try capital cases without five years' experience, but the judge gave me special permission. Judge Bulman was the judge. My clients had secured the billy club from this police officer the night of...

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