RIAJ Bylaws
 

Article I - Name
 

Section 1. The name of this Association shall be The Rhode Island Association for Justice, hereinafter referred to as RIAJ.

Section 2. RIAJ shall have all of the powers enumerated in the Rhode Island non-profit corporation act as from time to time amended and RIAJ shall exercise its powers allowed by the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)6, 1986, as amended in the Rhode Island General Laws.

Article II - Mission

The Mission of RIAJ shall be to:

  • Preserve the constitutional right to trial by jury
  • Strengthen the civil justice system through education
  • Safeguard consumers’ rights
  • Promote the public good through efforts to secure safe products, a safe workplace, a clean environment, and quality health care
  • Uphold and defend the constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Rhode Island.

Article III - Membership
 

Section 1. Members
(a) Regular Members. Any person shall be eligible for Regular membership who is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the State of Rhode Island; who is of good moral character; who is engaged in any field or phase of advocacy; and who is committed and devoted to the concept of a fair trial, the adversary system and a just result for the injured, the accused, and those whose rights are jeopardized and shall continue to be a member in good standing upon payment of periodic dues and during continued adherence to (1) the Mission of RIAJ and (2) the qualifications for Regular membership. Provided, however, that no person shall be eligible for or continue Regular membership, who, for the most part, represents the defense of personal injury litigation. Regular members in good standing shall have the right to vote and hold office.


(b) Associate Members. Any person who is licensed to practice law in any country, state or jurisdiction; or is a member in good standing of the Bar of the State of Rhode Island and, for the most part, represents the defense of personal injury litigation, shall be eligible for Associate membership and shall continue to be an Associate member in good standing upon payment of periodic dues and during continued adherence to (1) the Mission of RIAJ and (2) the qualifications for Associate membership. An Associate member shall have the same rights and privileges of Regular members, except the right to vote or to hold any office in RIAJ.

(c) Student Members. Any law student who is engaged in a course of study at a law school shall be eligible for Student membership and shall continue to be a Student member in good standing upon payment of periodic dues and during continued adherence to (1) the Mission of RIAJ and (2) the qualifications for Student membership. A Student member shall receive all benefits, rights and privileges of Regular Membership, except Student members shall not be eligible to vote or to hold any office in RIAJ.
 

(d) Paralegal Members. Any person who is employed as a paralegal or legal assistant by a Regular or Associate member of RIAJ shall be eligible for Paralegal membership and shall continue to be a Paralegal member in good standing upon payment of periodic dues and during continued adherence to (1) the Mission of RIAJ and (2) the qualifications for Paralegal membership. A Paralegal member shall receive all benefits, rights and privileges of Regular membership, except that Paralegal members shall not be eligible to vote or to hold any office in RIAJ.
 

Section 2. Termination of Membership - Membership may be terminated in the following manner:
(a) Resignation – A member may resign by submitting a written resignation to the President or to the Executive Director. Such resignation shall become effective on the date submitted, but shall not relieve the resigning member of any financial obligation which he/she has to RIAJ on the date of his/her resignation. A member shall also be deemed to have resigned for failure to pay dues owing in accordance with to Article X, Sec. 2 of the Bylaws.


(b) Disbarment – A member who is disbarred shall automatically be removed from membership.


(c) Suspension from Practice – A member suspended from practice shall be suspended from membership for as long as said period of suspension from practice continues and shall be returned to membership subject to the approval of the Board of Governors upon the termination of the suspension.


(d) Expulsion – A member may be expelled, suspended or censured for unethical conduct or misconduct which brings discredit to the member, RIAJ or the profession of law. This power shall rest exclusively with the Board of Governors. A vote for expulsion shall occur only after a member complained against has been advised of the complaint so lodged and has been given reasonable opportunity for defense. Expulsion, suspension or censure of a member shall require a two-thirds vote of the Board of Governors present at any meeting where the issue has been placed on the agenda in advance of the meeting.


Article IV - Officers
 

Section 1. The Officers of RIAJ shall be the President, President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer and Immediate Past President.


Section 2. The President shall be the Chair of the Board of Governors, and shall preside at all meetings of RIAJ and the Board of Governors; shall direct the affairs of RIAJ subject to policies established by the Board of Governors and unless otherwise provided for in these Bylaws, shall appoint all committees and shall be an ex-officio member of all committees. No member other than the President or the Presidents designee(s) is authorized to speak on behalf of RIAJ on matters affecting public policy.


Section 3. The President-Elect shall perform duties as delegated to the President-Elect by the President and shall succeed to the office of the President in the event of disability or resignation of the President. The President-Elect shall preside at meetings in the event of the temporary absence of the President and shall automatically succeed to the office of President at the end of the Presidents term and shall hold such office for the term prescribed in Section 6 of this Article. The President-Elect must be voted upon by a majority of those regular members present at the Annual Meeting.


Section 4. The Secretary shall be the official custodian of the records of RITLA ; shall perform such other duties as are directed by the President and shall perform any and all legal duties incident to the office of Secretary. The Executive Director may assist in the duties of Secretary.


Section 5. The Treasurer shall be the official custodian of the funds of RIAJ. The Treasurer shall collect all dues and monies of RIAJ, shall submit financial reports to the Board of Governors at its regular meetings and shall receive, disburse and invest the funds of RIAJ in the manner directed by the Board of Governors. The Executive Director may assist in the duties of Treasurer.


Section 6. The Immediate Past President shall perform any and all duties as are directed by the President.

Section 7. The Officers shall serve for a one year term, or until their successors are elected. The term of office shall begin at the close of the election business meeting of the Annual Meeting held in September.

Section 8. The removal of any officer for good cause may be effected by a majority vote of all members of the Board of Governors, provided however that a notice of intent to propose such action is given to the members of the Board at least thirty days prior to the vote.
 

Article V - Board of Governors
 

Section 1. The Board of Governors shall be the managing body of RIAJ and shall control and formulate policies of RIAJ and directs its affairs through the Officers of RIAJ.

Section 2. The Board of Governors shall consist of the President, President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer and Immediate Past President elected in accordance with these Bylaws.


Section 3. In addition to the Officers, there shall be at least 25 at large positions to be filled from the Regular Membership to the Board of Governors. Each member of the Board of Governors shall serve until removal or resignation. Any new members of the Board must be elected by the Board.


Section 4. Except as specifically limited by these Bylaws, the Board of Governors shall have full power and authority in intervals between the business meeting of the Annual Meeting to do all acts and perform all functions which RIAJ itself duly convened at the business meeting of the Annual Meeting may do or perform.

Section 5. Meetings of the Board of Governors shall be held upon the order of the President or upon written request of any fifteen members of the Board of Governors. In any event, a meeting shall be held at the Annual Meeting and no less than four meetings shall be held during the Presidents term following the Annual Meeting in September.

Section 6. The removal of a Governor for cause may be effected by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Governors, provided however that notice of intent to propose such action is given to the members of the Board at least thirty days prior to the vote. To serve on the Board of Governors, each Governor, individually or through his/her firm, shall make a minimum financial contribution, in addition to membership dues, to RIAJ on an annual basis. Said amount shall be determined by resolution of the Board.

Section 7. A quorum at any meeting of the Board of Governors shall consist of seven (7) Governors.

Article VI - Executive Director
 

Section 1. The Board of Governors shall appoint an Executive Director to administer the business of RIAJ.


Section 2. Tenure and compensation shall be fixed by the Board of Governors.


Section 3. The Executive Director shall be the chief executive officer of RIAJ, shall perform the duties of secretary to the Board of Governors, shall, unless excused by the President, attend all meetings of RIAJ, and shall record the minutes of the meetings.


Section 4. The Executive Director shall be empowered to state the policy of RIAJ as expressed to him/her by the President or the Board of Governors. The Executive Director shall regularly confer with the President and the Board of Governors for direction and communication to the membership, the legislature and other organizations, and to the public.


Section 5. The Executive Director shall be responsible for other such duties as may be assigned by the President or the Board of Governors.


Article VII - Committees
 

Section 1. The President may establish from time to time standing or special committees including by not limited to an Executive Committee as he/she deems necessary subject to the approval of the Board of Governors. Such committees shall have such names, powers, duties and existence as may be determined by the President, and shall operate under the general supervision of the President.


Section 2. Executive Committee
(a) The Executive Committee shall advise the President concerning the administration of RIAJ. The Executive Committee shall hold meetings as called by the President. The Executive Director of RIAJ shall act as secretary during these meetings, and shall prepare minutes of each meeting to be submitted to the Board of Governors.
(b) The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the President-Elect, the Immediate Past President, the Secretary, Treasurer and two other members of the Board of Governors appointed by the President. The Executive Director shall serve as an ex-officio member.


Article VIII - Elections and Voting


Section 1. The President shall appoint an Election Committee to conduct the elections. The Committee shall recommend fair rules of conducting elections, which rules shall be approved by the Board of Governors and shall serve as permanent rules unless amended by the Board of Governors. The Board shall nominate officers and the membership shall vote at the annual meeting on the Boards nomination and any nominations by the membership.
 

Article IX - AAJ Representatives The number of AAJ Representatives to theAAJ Board of Governors shall be determined by the American Association for Justice (AAJ). AAJ Representatives must be members of AAJ. AAJ Governors and AAJ Delegates shall be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the RIAJ Board of Governors.
 

Article X - Fiscal Matters and Dues
 

Section 1. A budget for RIAJ shall be prepared by the President and proposed to the Board of Governors for the following fiscal year, which shall be the calendar year. The proposed budget shall be prepared and presented to the Board of Governors for action no later than the last scheduled Board meeting prior to the fiscal year for which the budget applies. The budget shall be approved, rejected or modified by the Board of Governors. The President, Immediate Past President and Executive Director shall be authorized to incur debt and pay expenses in accordance with the budget and as otherwise authorized by these Bylaws.


Section 2. Dues for each class of membership shall be set by the Board of Governors and shall be payable annually on or before the first day of January each year. The Board of Governors may authorize the proration of dues for periods of less than one year. Any member of RIAJ who shall be delinquent in dues for a period of sixty (60) days from the time dues become due shall be notified of such delinquency and suspended from further services. If payment of dues is not made within the next succeeding thirty (30) days, the delinquent member shall be dropped from the rolls and shall forfeit all rights and privileges of membership.


Article XI - Governing Rules

All meetings of RIAJ shall be conducted in accordance with the current edition of Roberts Rules of Order except where otherwise designated by these Bylaws. Meetings shall be in keeping with democratic principles and traditions, so that each member may have any opportunity to be heard and present his or her views for consideration by the entire body.


Article XII - Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended at a business or special meeting by a two-thirds vote of the quorum of the Board of Governors as provided in these Bylaws. Any member of the Board of Governors may propose amendments by submitting the same in writing to the members of the Board of Governors not less than two weeks prior to the meeting at which the amendment will be considered. All proposed amendments duly submitted shall be addressed at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting.


Adopted June 3, 1981
Amended September 8, 1987
Adopted September 8, 1998
Amended September 11, 2000
Amended May 21, 2007