Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future, 0221 RIBJ, RIBJ, 69 RI Bar J., No. 4, Pg. 23

PositionVol. 69 4 Pg. 23

Rhode Island Women Lawyers: Past, Present, & Future

No. Vol. 69 No. 4 Pg. 23

Rhode Island Bar Journal

February, 2021

January, 2021

Cassandra L. Feeney, Esq. Adler, Cohen, Harvey Wakeman & Guekgueziari LLR Providence

Etie-Lee Schaub, Esq. Providence City Solicitor's Office

Lynette J. Labinger, 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.

As she was completing her junior year at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in 1970, Attorney Lynette Labinger considered her career options. She had assumed that she would most likely pursue teaching, not because she had any passion for education, but because it was a typical career path for women attending college at that time. While studying Russian history of the 1800s, her interest was re-focused to American current events and civil rights as she participated in Vietnam war protests, teach-ins, and the news coverage of the shooting of unarmed student protesters at Kent State University overtook her college studies. At the same time, she was also dating a student at Harvard. A few of his friends said that they didn't know what they wanted to do after they graduated, so they planned to go to law school. She thought to herself, "if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me."

As a student at NYU Law School, she had the opportunity to work with the New York Legal Aid Society, an organization that provides public defender services for indigent defendants in New York. While working with the organization, whenever she could, she would go down to the criminal courts and observe criminal arraignments. She was also in a program called Root-Tilden (now called Root-Tilden-Kern) which is a merit scholarship program for individuals selected as being committed to their involvement in public service. As part of that program, she spent time debating the meaning of public service. She initially anticipated that she would be a public defender, but first applied to be a clerk with several federal judges, focusing on judges who were well-known for their decisions in the civil rights arena.

Thus, in 1974, Attorney Labinger started her clerkship in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island for the Honorable Raymond J...

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