Elizabeth Cuzzone ’84 has a private law practice in Rhode Island, where she has more than 20 years’ experience representing clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in cases pertaining to family law, divorce, personal injury, auto accidents, trip and fall, medical negligence and products liability, corporate law, commercial litigation, real estate, Workers’ Compensation, wills, estate and probate law.
She has a six-year-old daughter and serves as a mock trial adviser and coach at Barrington High School. Her local paper, Barrington Patch, recently wrote about Cuzzone and why she makes time to volunteer.
“Cuzzone said the mock trials are a great way for students to get a feel for the judicial process,” the article notes.
She is quoted, “These kids are really impressive. I think the students really appreciate this program.”
Cuzzone earned a B.A. in American Studies from William Smith College and her J.D. from Suffolk University.
The article is below.
Attorney Strives to ‘Make a Difference’
Owning her own legal practice allows Elizabeth Cuzzone to volunteer in the classroom.
Esther Trneny • December 27, 2011
When Elizabeth Cuzzone was growing up in Barrington, she had dreams of joining the Foreign Service. After attending Wheeler School, she went on to obtain a bachelor of arts in American Studies from William Smith College in Geneva, NY, even spending time abroad studying in France.
But after college, Cuzzone found herself working as an insurance claims adjuster for Liberty Mutual.
“I felt like I had to get a job right out of college. I wanted to be financially independent,” she said.
It wasn’t enough for the young go-getter though, and within a few years she made a life-changing decision.
“I decided to pursue further education,” said Cuzzone. “I knew I could make a difference in the world.”
Cuzzone decided to go to law school, and in 1991 she graduated from Suffolk University Law School, in Boston, and began working as a law clerk for the Rhode Island Supreme Court law clerk pool. She began a rotating shift of assignments within the Superior, Family, and Workers Compensation courts.
During her time in law school, Cuzzone had worked as a law clerk for the district attorney’s office in Boston, as well as for an insurance defense litigation firm, and a personal injury firm. Those experiences gave her an interest in litigation cases, and after her year with the RI Supreme Court, she began work with her father’s law firm in his Providence office.
Cuzzone’s mother had died just before she started law school, and sadly, her father was diagnosed with cancer in January 1995, barely 18 months after she began working with him. When he died at the end of 1995, Cuzzone and one of the other lawyers from his firm, Samuel Miller, set up a practice in Providence, where they stayed for the next couple of years.
In 1998, Miller decided to focus more on real estate law, and Cuzzone realized the time had come for her to start her own practice. She moved her offices to the East Side of Providence, and for the next few years maintained an office in Providence, and one at her dad’s former Barrington office.
Cuzzone had purchased a building at 108 Maple Ave. in 2000 as an investment property, and after realizing that she wasn’t enjoying splitting her time between two locations, decided in 2002 to move her business to her building in Barrington. She now practices family law, bankruptcy, wills and estates, and personal injury law.
“I really wanted to focus on the East Bay,” she said. Having her own practice in her own building on Maple Avenue has proved challenging on occasion, said Cuzzone, a single parent of a 6-year-old daughter. “It was particularly hard when she was a baby, but I was fortunate to have friends and family to help me,” she said.
On the upside, Cuzzone said, she appreciates the flexibility having her own business gives her, particularly as it allows her the opportunity to volunteer within the school system.
Cuzzone volunteers her time as a mock trial advisor at St. Margaret’s School, in Rumford, where her daughter attends, and also as a mock trial advisor and coach at Barrington High School.
Students participating in the program at the high school meet two times a week for 90 minutes each time, beginning in October each year. Depending on how successful they are when competing against other schools throughout the state, they may end up continuing in the program throughout the remainder of the school year.
Cuzzone said the mock trials are a great way for students to get a feel for the judicial process. Students are given real cases and must learn how to present evidence, and question witnesses. Attorneys judge the students’ abilities at cross examination, and the proceedings are watched over by a real judge, who moderates the ‘trial’.
“These kids are really impressive,” said Cuzzone. “I think the students really appreciate this program.”
Cuzzone is licensed in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the U.S. District Court, and is licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court of Appeals, and in the U.S. Tax Court.