From Liberal Arts to Law School, and Beyond

September 25, 2019

Lauren Casola

Lauren Casola’s advice for future lawyers? “Don’t be afraid to raise your hand!”

As a pollution claims analyst at RiverStone Resources in Atlanta, Georgia, Lauren Casola ’09 has something few attorneys can claim: A healthy work-life balance. 

Balance was also something she had while earning her law degree from Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island. “That was an important lesson that MCLA was able to teach me,” she said.

The history major now works on complicated legal cases that arise when a company pollutes the environment. She analyzes claims, makes legal assessments for specialty insurance products, analyzes insurance coverage based on different state laws, determines a legal defense strategy, and helps organize the environmental remediations. “Most of these incidents are accidents,” she said.

State laws on pollution and remediation vary, so these cases require a lot of attention to detail. “Most of the cases are very slow-moving, as remediation can take a great deal of time,” she said. “Many of my cases involve pollution that began in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s rewarding to be able to close a case, because it’s so rare.”

Almost none of her work is in a courtroom as most cases are settled in mediation. “It’s an unusual area of insurance law,” Casola said. “People assume you’re often in court, and I did do litigation with a firm in the past. But there’s an entirely different area to law where there’s a lot of research, analysis, and writing.” 

Before finding her niche as an attorney, Casola clerked for the Chief Judge of the Rhode Island Family Court, worked in family and criminal law in Massachusetts, did insurance defense litigation for a private firm in Connecticut, and spent time working at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. In her current role, “I feel like I’m doing something impactful,” she said. “I’m helping the environment, and I feel like I’m making a positive difference.”

Casola’s involvement at MCLA helped her keep momentum as she moved through law school and her career. She served on MCLA’s Student Government Association, and then was involved in the Student Bar Association at Roger Williams. Being a history major was helpful, she states, because it sharpened her research and writing skills. Also, the opportunity to show her work at MCLA’s Undergraduate Research Conference helped hone her presentation skills. “I had a wonderful experience at MCLA and I always speak highly of it,” she said. “Because it’s such a small school, you develop wonderful bonds there.”

Casola’s advice for future lawyers? “Don’t be afraid to raise your hand!” she said. “Get as much experience as you can, such as talking with other lawyers, participating in various internships, and volunteering in legal clinics. It’s helpful to get an idea of what you do and don’t want to do in your practice as a lawyer. Get as much exposure as possible.”


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