Gene has a varied practice where he counsels religious, corporate and governmental entities on a variety of complex matters having legal, ethical and community relations dimensions. He serves as the general counsel to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence and the charitable, educational and religious corporations organized and existing to conduct the temporal affairs of the Roman Catholic Church within the Diocese of Providence.
Gene also practices in the sophisticated area of tax-exempt finance, and has been involved in the issuance of over $13 billion in tax-exempt securities in Rhode Island. In the past, he has counseled governmental leaders on critical issues of the day. He has advised the Speaker of the House in connection with legislative reapportionment, was part of the Governor’s legal team regarding the jurisdictional scope on lands in Charlestown pursuant to the Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act, and he routinely advises the General Treasurer’s office on matters relating to public finance. Prior to beginning his practice, Gene served as a law clerk to The Honorable Ernest C. Torres, United States District Court.
Gene has provided pro bono services in his representation of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Alliance of Sexual Assault Coalition and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape as amici curiae in a successful appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
A life-long Rhode Islander, Gene has invested significantly in his community. When he’s not working, Gene enjoys positively influencing young lives. For over a decade, he was a mainstay of Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE), an organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to children of incarcerated parents in an effort to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, crime and addiction. Gene became one of the organization’s first mentors in 1998, and nurtured his student into RISE’s first college graduate, as profiled in The Providence Journal and by National Public Radio. He also enjoys coaching and teaching.
- Roger Williams University School of Law, J.D., cum laude
- University of Rhode Island, M.P.A., magna cum laude
- Rollins College, B.A., Economics
Bar Memberships & Admissions
- Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court, Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
- First Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year - Providence, RI Public Finance Law (2018)
- Moses Brown School 25th Reunion Alumni Achievement Award
- Selected annually since 2007 by his peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America
- Recognized by Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE) for his 10 years of service as a mentor to children whose parents are incarcerated
- Providence Business News 40 Under Forty Honoree
- National Diocesan Attorneys Association
- National Association of Bond Lawyers
- Rhode Island Bar Association
- Municipal Law Committee, Past Chair
- Rhode Island Government Finance Officers Association
Personal NoteGene is a fifth generation Rhode Islander. His great-great-grandfather came to Providence in 1898 from Colli a Volturno, Italy. Amelio Bernardo left behind a thriving, successful stone cutting business in Italy because he was inspired by greater opportunity offered in a new America. Many in his native village shook their heads. A 1930 Providence Sunday Journal Magazine profile captured Amelio’s legendary determination, discipline, strong faith and penchant for saving -- attributes that allowed him to build the Providence Granite Company and rise to the top of his calling. Three generations of Bernardo’s followed Amelio as chief executives of Providence Granite, but the business was sold when Gene was in college. He needed to carve his own career. After post-college stints in Washington, DC and New York City, working on political and media strategies for a variety of high-profile clients, Gene returned home for the opportunity presented by the launch of state’s first law school. Soon, he landed at Partridge Snow and Hahn LLP as a summer associate, and never left. Today, standing between the courthouse and PS&H’s Providence office is the 115-foot granite Providence War Memorial which connects each Bernardo generation. In the 1920’s, Gene’s great-great-grandfather (Amelio) and great grandfather (Eugene) were part of its construction. In the 1980’s, his grandfather (Raymond) and father (Brad) participated in its relocation as part of the Capital Center revitalization and moving of the Providence rivers. Early each morning, when Gene arrives at work, he glances at the monument and is reminded of his strong Rhode Island roots and his family’s core values. This daily, inspirational touchtone serves as a foundation for Gene’s “different career” which is built upon the work ethic passed down for generations.
- Congressional Bill Would Expand The Ability To Issue Bank Qualified Tax-Exempt Bonds
Partridge Snow & Hahn Client Alert, September 3, 2019
- IRS Provides Guidance On Current Refunding Of Bonds Issued Under Targeted Bond Programs
Partridge Snow & Hahn Client Alert, June 7, 2019
- IRS Private Letter Ruling Provides New Guidance On Calculating Economic Life of Certain Bond-Financed Assets
Partridge Snow & Hahn Client Alert, May 31, 2019
- IRS Issues New Regulations Governing TEFRA Approvals of Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bonds
Partridge Snow & Hahn Client Alert, January 8, 2019
- IRS Clarifies Its Stance on Tax-Exempt Advance Refundings After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Partridge Snow & Hahn Client Alert, December 17, 2018
- SEC Adopts Amendments to Municipal Securities Disclosure Rule 15c2-12
August 28, 2018
- Time to reform Senate confirmations
As appeared in the Providence Journal, November 23, 2016
- "New SEC Rules for Municipal Advisors Take Effect July 1, 2014"
- "Lessons to Learn from the Harrisburg SEC Fraud Charges"
- "SEC Seeks Further Authority to Regulate the Municipal Securities Market"
Representative Speaking Engagements
- Religious Liberty and the Example of St. Thomas More
United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fortnight of Freedom, St. Thomas More Parish, Narragansett, RI
- Municipal Markets - The New Normal?
Rhode Island General Treasurer's Municipal Market Seminar
- Cases of the Year - Keynote Address
Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns Annual Convention
- Partridge Snow & Hahn Attorneys Have Been Named to the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
November 5, 2018
- Best Lawyers in America 2018 Names PS&H Providence Attorneys Bernardo, Gamboli, Gilden, Merten and McCarthy "Lawyers of the Year"
11 Attorneys in Providence and Boston Named “Best Lawyers”, August 16, 2017