Our purpose.

The purposes of the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association shall be to promote the advancement of women in the legal profession, to promote the advancement of women in a just society, to promote the administration of justice, to encourage a spirit of cooperation among its members, and to operate in accordance with the organization’s §501(c)(6) non-profit corporation status.

Our presidents.

The Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association has been lucky to have decades of incredible leadership. Here is a glimpse at our past presidents, from the start to our current President:

Karen Davidson
Denise Aiken
Denise Lombardo Myers
Elizabeth McDonough Noonan
Elizabeth Kelleher Dwyer
Moira Reynolds
Kathy Wyllie
Jennifer Hoopis D’Ambra
Cindy Fogarty
Amy Stratton
Tracy Baran
Erin Lynch
Lisa Martinelli
Mary Cavanaugh Dunn
Melody Alger
Aileen Sprague
Leah Donaldson
Alicia Samolis
Denise Cassisi
Kate Ahern
Sara Sweeney
Jessica Shelton Meredith Renner Krystle Tadesse Gina Renzulli Lemay (current)

The Ada Sawyer Award.

Each year, the Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association (RIWBA) presents the Ada Sawyer Award to an individual who exemplifies the mission of the RIWBA–the promotion and enhancement of the status of women in our community and in the legal profession. 

The award is named after the first female attorney in Rhode Island, Ada Sawyer, who became an attorney in 1920 only after the Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners received an opinion from the Supreme Court that in the bar rules, the reference to “person” with respect to admission to the bar included women

Here are the past recipients of this honor:

1995 – Barbara Margolis
1996 – Lynette Labinger
1997 – Carolyn Mannis
1998 – Margaret Lynch
1999 – Margaret Curran
2000 – Justice Alice Gibney
2001 – Marilyn Shannon
2002 – Justice Haiganush McConaghy Bedrosian
2003 – Justice Victoria Lederberg
2004 – Teresa Paiva-Weed
2005 – Justice Maureen McKenna Golberg
2006 – Stacey Pires Veroni
2007 – Judge Moore
2008 – Denise Aiken
2009 – Justice O. Rogeriee Thompson
2010 – Tracy Baran
2011 – Sandra A. Lanni
2012 – Patricia R. Recupero
2013 – Barbara Hurst
2014 – Donna Nesselbush
2015 – Melody Alger
2016 – Justice Laureen A. D’Ambra 2017 – Kate Ahern 2018 – Justice Patricia A. Hurst