Susan Leach DeBlasio, Esq., Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq. Adler, Cohen, Harvey, Wakeman & Guekguezian, LLP, Providence, Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq. Providence City Solicitor’s Office
This series was inspired by Roger Williams University School of Law’s annual Women in Robes event, and was created in alliance with their exciting new project The First Women, which recognizes and honors the first women of the Rhode Island bar.
When asked what initially drove Attorney Susan Leach DeBlasio to pursue a career in the law, she quickly jumped to her love for philosophical discussion and logic. As a child, she fell in love with the law while watching Perry Mason on television with her grandfather. However, her journey to becoming one of Rhode Island’s best corporate attorneys is not marked by a clear and direct route.
In 1970, she graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a major in philosophy and minors in both English and psychology. Although she notes that all three disciplines help her practice today, she initially thought she was going to be a writer focusing on short stories and poems. After graduating, she lived in Italy for six years when, as she put it, “somewhere along the way” she decided that she would apply her skill to the study of law.
When she graduated from Boston University law school in 1979, there were very few women practicing law in Rhode Island. Her first position after law school was as a judicial law clerk with Chief Justice Weisberger, which she notes was “very special.” He was a great mentor to her and taught her about “professionalism, civility, scholarship, respect, and how to be a better human being.” Those are lessons that she carried throughout her career. In fact, she is the first and only woman to have received the Ralph P. Semonoff Award for Professionalism from the Rhode Island Bar Association.
After clerking for one year, Attorney DeBlasio started her legal practice in litigation working for one of the largest firms in the state, and after a year, she was drawn to corporate law...