2015-05-07 / Front Page

Associate attorney celebrates one year at Trocki law

By Tim Riel


From left, Monique Paquin is celebrating her one-year anniversary as an associate at Kristine Trocki’s law firm. From left, Monique Paquin is celebrating her one-year anniversary as an associate at Kristine Trocki’s law firm. Since moving into her “fixerupper” on Clinton Avenue 15 years ago, most everyone in town has become familiar with Kristine Trocki. She’s in the midst of her second term as Town Council president. She serves on the chamber of commerce’s board of directors. She has attended her son’s Little League games and theater performances. And she’s one of the few attorneys with an office in town.

It’s her colleague who’s relatively unknown.

Monique Paquin is celebrating her one-year anniversary as an associate at Trocki’s law firm on Narragansett Avenue. Although she is only 26 years old and barely two years out of law school, there are already whispers of a partnership.

“Don’t let her age fool you,” said Trocki. “She’s a mature 26-yearold. She’s probably more mature than most 36-year-olds.”

Paquin is new to Jamestown, but she is already used to the Mayberry feel. Before coming to Rhode Island, she spent her entire life in Peterborough, N.H. Although it’s not on the coast, the population is similar: There are about 6,000 residents who live in the arts-centric town that lies just 30 miles north of the Massachusetts border.

“I was born and raised there,” she said. “It’s actually pretty similar to Jamestown.”

Following high school, Paquin left the confines of Peterborough and headed south, choosing Roger Williams University as much for its location as for its academics.

“It was far enough from home, but not too far,” said Paquin, an only child who made the 100-mile trek toward Narragansett Bay. “I thought the campus was beautiful. It was perfect for me.”

As a freshman, Paquin wasn’t dead-set on becoming a lawyer. However, she had always been fascinated with law and order. She wanted to be part of it, but to what capacity she wasn’t sure.

“I’ve always been interested in the criminal justice system,” she said. “It’s always been in the back of my head, even when I was young.”

Paquin double majored at Roger Williams, studying criminal justice and psychology. She did her due diligence, considering a handful of fields during her undergraduate years. She interned at prisons, police departments, parole boards. When Paquin finally decided to become a lawyer, her first impression was to become a prosecutor. However, as she trudged through law school in Bristol, she gravitated in the opposite direction.

Paquin graduated in May 2013, passed the bar exam in Rhode Island and Massachusetts two months later, and secured an internship at Trocki’s law firm that November.

“I just wanted to get my foot in the door,” said Paquin. “I still wasn’t sure if a smaller practice was for me.”

Five months interning under Trocki answered the question. Since coming to town, Paquin has become enamored with helping people deal with intimate, civil problems, something that doesn’t happen at larger firms. Her favorite is family law, especially divorces.

“It can be tough, but I like working with the parties themselves,” she said. “It’s important to work amicably so they can go on with their lives in two separate directions. We want to make sure everyone gets along, especially when there are kids involved.”

Paquin’s attitude is a bit reminiscent of her mentor’s, who is a veteran mediator. “Making people see eye to eye is the key,” said Trocki. “We sit down with both sides and force them to act like adults. Especially if there is a child involved, because they have something in common for the rest of their lives. There are going to be graduations. Weddings. Babies.”

Although divorces are common at the office, the women work on many types of civil cases, including estate planning, personal injury, contract disputes, medical malpractice, employment claims and collections. However, they also take some criminal cases, including DUI defense.

If there is one constant at Trocki’s law firm, it’s teamwork. Both women stressed the need to be involved in every case together.

“A lot of the time, we will both be here during client meetings so that everyone is familiar with the both of us,” said Paquin. “We are on top of everything that’s going on in the office. I think our clients appreciate that. They aren’t talking to a paralegal or an assistant. They are always talking to one of us.”

Trocki agreed. “We use a team approach. We never bill clients if two of us are sitting at the table. When you come here, you get both of us. We make decisions collectively.”

While it’s a benefit for the clients, Trocki admits it isn’t cost-efficient. “We’re not making millions of dollars, but it’s what sets us apart.”

Although most people think of restaurants and retail shops as the businesses that struggle in the offseason, Trocki’s law firm wasn’t unscathed by the brutal winter.

“We could certainly always use more clients,” she said. “Usually I have a fast start in the New Year, but that wasn’t the case. It’s been a slow takeout.”

Another financial hit that Trocki has taken – albeit voluntarily – is her role on the council. “It’s like a full-time job on top of a full-time job,” she said. “It does take away from business.”

However, she says her clients appreciate that she is a community leader who gives back civically. “I think it shows that I care. I don’t consider myself a political figure. There are no partisan groups pushing me in any direction. I approach each issue with a clean slate and an open mind.”

Trocki, a 1999 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, opened her firm with a partner in 2006. It was a short-lived partnership, and by 2007 she was the lone attorney in the office. Over the years, she has had a handful of Roger Williams law students interning with her. Michael Mineau was hired in 2010 as a salaried employee, but it wasn’t until Paquin that she offered the full-time associate position.

“I never intended this to be a solo venture,” said Trocki. “My hope is that Monique will enjoy being here. I value her tremendously. Hopefully she can grow into having an ownership interest down the road.”

When asked if she’s had any funny stories or run-ins with clients so far in her short career, Paquin kept mum. “Not that I recall,” she said.

“You never have to worry about any issues with confidentially,” said Trocki. “Monique is responsible. Nobody gets judged.”

When Paquin isn’t practicing law, she’s visiting family or working on the house she bought 10 months ago in Richmond. She’s single with no kids, but lives with her boyfriend.

“When you buy a house, you’re always doing nonstop projects,” she said.

Also, Paquin has become somewhat of a second mother to Trocki’s dog, Scout. When Trocki’s son Teddy left for Bard College on New York’s Hudson River, she helped fill the void with a yellow lab puppy. When she travels, Paquin dog-sits.

“I just love her,” Paquin said of the dog. “She’s so cute. I enjoy watching her.”

“Scout adores Monique,” said Trocki. “They are total buddies. It’s adorable. Scout is her step-dog.”

Paquin, when she accepted the position, didn’t expect dog-sitter to be on her list of duties.

“In this profession,” she said, “there is something new every day.”

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