Employment & LaborNewsPress ReleasesFormer Head of Legal at RIDLT and Pay Equity Guru Joins PSH

August 3, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Partridge Snow & Hahn (PSH), a leading full-service business law and litigation firm, is excited to announce that Sean Fontes has joined PSH’s team of accomplished Employment & Litigation attorneys.

Immediately prior to joining PSH, Sean served as the Executive Counsel for the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training for twelve (12) years.  In this role, Sean litigated and advised on state and federal employment matters.  He also served as an administrative law judge on complex law and prevailing wage matters and helped create the state rules of practice before administrative law courts.  Of recent importance, Sean was deeply involved in the implementation, interpretation, and enforcement of the Rhode Island Pay Equity Law, along with other wage and hour laws and labor matters.

In addition to his 12-year span at the DLT, Sean has experience advising Massachusetts-based private clients in a variety of legal matters, including litigation, and was an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University, teaching (amongst other things) employment and labor law.

“Sean is an established and highly respected labor and employment attorney and advisor,” said Paul Kessimian, PSH’s Co-Managing Partner and Litigation Practice Chair.  “His extensive experience — as well as the insights he’s developed from that experience both at the DLT and otherwise — are invaluable.  His addition to PSH builds on our firm’s ability to handle our clients’ most difficult questions and issues.  We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

Alicia Samolis, Partner and Employment Chair, expressed her enthusiasm in welcoming Sean.  Alicia commented that “I am excited that Sean chose to join the PSH Employment Law Group.  We have a robust employment practice that is fully committed to providing employment advice and defense to employers in countless industries.  Recently, pay equity and other wage and hour laws are becoming more complex and the risks associated with those laws are increasing.  Sean is well-positioned to identify which client practices are potential red flags likely to trigger state audits and employee claims relating to wage and hour matters.”

Fontes shares his enthusiasm for joining PSH, stating, “I am honored and excited to join the prestigious PSH and its highly regarded employment and labor law team.  My decision was based upon more than the firm’s impeccable reputation.  In my former role as the state’s chief government labor lawyer and DLT’s chief employment lawyer, I saw firsthand PSH’s effectiveness, professionalism, and skillful lawyering in labor and employment law matters, whether those matters came before my agency’s regulatory and administrative regime or before the broader legal community and legal system.

I believe that I’m joining PSH at the right moment.  In my former regulatory role for the last 12 years, I have had the benefit of seeing and knowing that we are at a place in time, unlike any other, for labor and employment law.  The pandemic along with other recent legislative and regulatory actions such as the new pay equity law and regulations have created a dynamic, evolving, and complex legal landscape, requiring employers to reimagine the workplace in terms of workplace safety, wage policies, hiring and retention, and equity — just to name a few.”  Sean is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.  Sean holds an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, serves on the Board of Governors for Leadership Rhode Island and holds government and private board appointments for the Town of Randolph Zoning Board of Appeals, Town of Randolph Redevelopment Authority, Thurgood Marshall Law Society, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, the Boston College Black Alumni Network, Rhode Island Bar Foundation, Rhode Island Bar Association House of Delegates, and the Boston College Law School/Rappaport Center for Law.

About PSH

Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP is a full-service business law and litigation firm dedicated to providing excellence in legal services and business planning counsel to our clients in a responsive, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Firm focuses involve corporate, litigation, employment & labor law, and real estate.  In addition, areas of practice include commercial & public finance, mergers & acquisitions, tax, nonprofit, insolvency, land use, environmental, energy, intellectual property, and insurance.

Please join us in welcoming Sean Fontes to PSH. To learn more about our firm and find the experience you’re looking for, please visit psh.com.

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