Lunch with Legends Trailblazers, Trendsetters and Treasures of the Rhode Island Bar, 1020 RIBJ, RIBJ, 69 RI Bar J., No. 2, Pg. 21

PositionVol. 69 2 Pg. 21

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

Vol. 69 No. 2 Pg. 21

Rhode Island Bar Journal

October, 2020

September, 2020

Marilyn McConaghy was born and raised in PawtUCKet and currently lives less than a mile from her childhood home, which gives her major Rhode Island points. Attorney McConaghy graduated from Tolman High School in 1971 and subsequently graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a double major in speech pathology and education. She graduated from Boston College Law School in 1978. After a clerkship in the Federal Court for Judge Boyle, Attorney McConaghy joined Tillinghast, Collins and Graham, where she became a partner and worked for a total of over eighteen years before becoming the director of the Department of Business Regulations and subsequently head of legal services for the Department of Revenue. Although Attorney McConaghy believes she has "flown under the radar," she attributes her lasting success to being a "plugger" and having a good sense of balance between work and home.

Excerpts from our conversation with this trailblazing attorney follow:

What made you decide to become a lawyers?

When I was a senior at URI, I was student teaching, and I soon realized, unless you had a halo and wings, teaching was not the profession for you. One of my friends had an LSAT book, and I said, what is an LSAT? But I took the test, did fairly well I guess, and ended up at BC. So, it's just this thread of - I feel like I am on this little river and on an inner tube, and I'm following along, and that is where I ended up.

Please describe a really memorable experience that you had as a lawyer.

When I was at the Department of Business Regulation, we had a series of institutions that either failed or withdrew from the state or had to be put in administrative supervision, so the first one was Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, then Tuft's Health Plan, and then Pawtucket Mutual Insurance Company. Twin River went into bankruptcy, and Central Falls went under state control under the Fiscal Stability Act. So this was an unrealistic series of events that were closely related, but they all had to do with a failure of some type in an administrative or regulatory context. A lot of them were just cutting edge in terms of what legally should happen to these entities.

What was your most inventive legal argument? Yes, I would have to say it...

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