About Us

The Rhode Island Legal Education Foundation (RILEF) is an independent, 501(c)(3), nonprofit agency chartered in 2017 as an alliance of legal and educational professionals committed to promoting a public understanding of the law and the legal process through law-related and civic education.  The Rhode Island Mock Trial Tournament has been conducted for over thirty years!  It promotes civic responsibility and involves high school and middle school students from across the state in the learning process by using interactive strategies and community resources.

In collaboration with the Rhode Island Judiciary, our active, volunteer Judges and practicing attorneys help RILEF to engage hundreds of Rhode Island students, educators, administrators each and every year by offering a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the judicial system.

Our goal is to educate the student participants about the judicial system and provide them the opportunity to attain new perspectives, and gain self-confidence in ways that classroom learning alone cannot provide.  The students also learn to work collaboratively as a team.  These goals could not be accomplished without the large number of Rhode Island teachers, administrators, lawyers, judges and other volunteers who provide an impressive amount of time and valuable services to the Mock Trial Tournament.  If it were not for the assistance of these volunteers, the Tournament would not be the success it has been and is today.  We are sure that the students will have an experience that they will treasure for years to come.

Through the Mock Trial Tournament, Rhode Island students are provided an exciting educational experience where they assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses to try a hypothetical case provided by RILEF.  Student teams guided by lawyer and teacher coaches present their cases before members of the judiciary in courtrooms throughout the state; and attorneys acting as performance judges score the proceedings.  Each mock trial requires two performance judges (three for playoff trials, thirteen for the Championship Trial before Rhode Island’s Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court) to decide the outcome and provide constructive criticism on their performances.

Who We Are

Jennifer A. Minuto, Esq.

Executive Director

Jennifer A. Minuto, Esq., is a practicing attorney, serving clients throughout the State of Rhode Island. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Massachusetts School of Law in December 2012, and began her private practice in June of 2013. She is passionate about bringing civics programs to the students of Rhode Island and has been directing the mock trial program since 2013.

Jennifer has spent decades as a human rights activist, a business leader, a nonprofit director, and an accomplished pianist, musician and composer. Jennifer is currently performing with the Providence-based jazz/folk/blues band, Jen Minuto & The Better Angels.

Jennifer also received her Master of Arts degree from Goddard College where she received awards for her work in the fields of film, sociology and public policy.  Jennifer attended the University of Rhode Island and earned a baccalaureate degree in Women’s Studies while founding an advocacy-based feminist organization serving university students on campus and the community at large.

Jennifer has also served as a member of the Governor’s Council on Higher Education and was a Rhode Island delegate to the National Women’s Political Caucus.  Jennifer is a member of the American Bar Association, the Rhode Island Bar Association and the Women’s Bar Association. 

Pamela E. Chin, Esq.

President, Board of Directors

Pamela E. Chin, Esq., is a practicing attorney in the State of Rhode Island, currently employed at the Law Firm of Lynch and Pine, based in Providence. A former Assistant United States Attorney, Pamela is a graduate of American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C. and currently serves as President of the Rhode Island Legal Education Foundation.

Pamela is a member of the Women and Minorities in the Courts Committee, the Rhode Island Bar Association, the Rhode Island Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association. She is also a former member of the Rhode Island Commission on Prejudice and Bias and the Roger Williams American Inns of Court.

Honorable Micheal J. Feeney

Vice President, Board of Directors

Michael J. Feeney is an Associate Judge on the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. Judge Feeney was appointed to the court on May 9, 2016, by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) and sworn in on June 21, 2016.

Judge Feeney has been a practicing attorney since 1988, most recently as a partner at Jeffrey & Feeney Attorneys at Law in Warwick. He also previously served as the assistant town solicitor in East Greenwich, and participates in the Superior Court Pilot Program, which provides legal services to indigent defendants in criminal cases. He is a graduate of Suffolk University and the New England School of Law.

Judge Feeney is a member of the board of the Rhode Island Legal Education Foundation.

Brett V. Beaubien, Esq.

Treasurer and Board Member

Born and Raised in Woonsocket, RI, Brett V. Beaubien, Esq., grew up delivering newspapers for the Woonsocket Call, his home-town paper of record, and spent his high school years as a dishwasher and line cook for a local “family style” restaurant. He left Woonsocket to earn a business degree at URI, and began his career operating a high energy restaurant in Rhode Island, overseeing a staff of over one hundred employees and managing a budget of over six-million dollars.

Brett attended Roger Williams University School of Law, where he excelled in trial and appellate litigation, obtaining the highest achievement award for criminal litigation, and appellate writing and advocacy.  In only his second year, he became the winner of his law school’s Moot Court competition in an argument before the Supreme Court of Rhode Island.  He authored an article published in the school’s Law Review, and served as Student Chair of the law school’s student disciplinary tribunal, overseeing the prosecution of complaints of student misconduct.

Brett spent his law school summers with the U.S. Military; first as a legal intern supporting the DOD’s international law mission with the Defense Institute for International Legal Studies at Naval Station Newport in 2014, and then as a legal intern with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate Generals Corp in Sicily, Italy, in 2015. He finished his law school career as a student attorney defending indigent clients in the Criminal Defense Clinic, appearing before the Rhode Island District Court and Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.

Now, he works alongside some of the most successful criminal defense attorneys in Rhode Island, aggressively defending clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts courts every day. Brett is dedicated to fighting for truth and justice, and to obtaining the most favorable results for every client, and prepares each case as if he were going to trial.  Brett Beaubien believes in giving back to the community, and volunteers his time as an officer on the Board of the Rhode Island Legal Education Foundation.

Honorable Keith A. Cardoza, Jr.

 Secretary and Board Member 

Keith A. Cardoza, Jr., is an Associate Judge on the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court. He was appointed in December of 2018 by Governor Gina Raimondo (D). Judge Cardoza has been a practicing attorney since 2010, most recently as a founding partner of IGC.  

Keith was admitted to the Bars of the State of Rhode Island and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2010 and to the State of Connecticut Bar in 2012. He has appeared in every trial court in the State of Rhode Island, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the State of Connecticut. 

Keith earned dual B.A. degrees in English and Political Science at the University of Rhode Island in 2006. His law degree was conferred in 2010 by Roger Williams University, where he was part of the Honors Program and a member of Multicultural Law Students Association.

Joseph P. Carnevale IV, Esq.

Board Member

Joseph Carnevale, Esq., is an associate in the Providence office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Workers’ Compensation Practice. Joe was a judicial law clerk for the Appellate Division of the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court under Chief Judge George Healy. As a judicial law clerk, Joe researched and drafted numerous appellate opinions and orders as well as trial court decisions.

After his clerkship, Joe worked as an associate at Heald & LeBoeuf, Ltd. There he represented clients involved in general contractual disputes, with a primary focus on construction disputes, public and private, throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Issues there involved breach of contract, construction defects, mechanics’ liens, Miller Act bonds, private bonds, public bidding and bid protests, administrative actions, mediation and arbitration.

Barbara L. Margolis, Esq.

Board Member

Barbara L. Margolis, Esq., currently serves as the Deputy Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Barbara was admitted to the Rhode Island Bar in 1981 after graduating from the New England School of Law. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1977.

Jane Murphy.

Board Member and Faculty Liaison

Jane Murphy is an English teacher at La Salle Academy and the longtime coach of their Mock Trial Team, which  under her leadership, has won the State Championship four times.

She currently serves as the Faculty Liaison and as a RILEF board member.