Brian Newberry says he is a law partner in a firm specializing in professional malpractice defense by day and “the most public voice of opposition in this heavily Democratic-controlled state” at night.
Newberry was first elected to the General Assembly in 2008, as a Republican representative from North Smithfield. In May, Newberry was promoted to House minority leader in the wake of legal troubles of former Minority Leader Robert Watson.
That means Newberry is the leader of a small contingent of Republican representatives and the “de facto public face of the Rhode Island GOP along with the Senate minority leader and the party chairman,” Newberry explained in his 40 Under Forty application.
He spent his time during the legislative session helping to shepherd his caucus members’ legislation through the system, offering advice and interacting with the Democratic leadership on budget issues and other matters.
At the same time, Newberry is in charge of the Providence office of Boston-based Donovan Hatem LLP. The firm’s clients now include most of the major architectural and engineering firms in New England.
One of his many achievements in 15 years of practicing law came in 2003 when he won the second-highest monetary award for 2003 in Rhode Island. It was a $441,000 jury verdict representing the plaintiff in a breach-of-contract case.
Newberry, 39, said he can’t pinpoint the most influential person in his dual careers. “But as a lawyer I have tried to model my conduct on those attorneys, both employers and opposing counsel, who conducted themselves with dignity and respect. Both law and politics reward those who command respect and can disagree without being disagreeable.” •