Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future, 0520 SCBJ, RIBJ, 68 RI Bar J., No. 6, Pg. 23

AuthorCassandra L. Feeney, Esq., Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq.
PositionVol. 68 6 Pg. 23

Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future

No. Vol. 68 No. 6 Pg. 23

Rhode Island Bar Journal

June, 2020

May, 2020

Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq., Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq.

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.

Barbara Margolis, Esq.

Upon graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in psychology, Barbara Margolis, now retired Deputy Disciplinary Counsel, knew she wanted to make the world a better place. She initially thought she would pursue her goal by becoming a feminist therapist. Her mother guided her toward attending law school, encouraging Attorney Margolis to pursue something that would help her gain more “power” to represent and advocate for those who needed help.

Although originally from Utica, New York, she attended New England School of Law part-time while working full-time. As she worked her way through law school, she volunteered with Merrimack Valley Legal Services and represented victims of abuse seeking divorces. She also spent time working as a messenger at a law firm with ten attorneys, where the gender double-standard was alive and well. Although she and another law student (a male) were both hired at the same time, she was tasked as a messenger, while the male student was tasked with work befitting an individual pursuing a legal education. That discrimination did not dissuade or discourage Attorney Margolis as she never intended to pursue a “big law” career.

Upon graduation, she immediately sought out non-profit work in Rhode Island. However, due to budget cuts implemented by President Regan, legal aid services throughout the country were significantly reduced and full-time legal aid positions were not available.

With no clients and no connections in Rhode Island (beyond her college education) she thought to herself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” and chose to hang her shingle as a solo practitioner in family law. She found an office space for rent from two male attorneys in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. As a condition for her renting that space, she was asked to promise not to “do abortions” (or, rather, litigate any issues relating to abortion). After settling in, she began reaching out to...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT