Hartford Business Journal

April 6, 2020 — Women in Business

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40 Hartford Business Journal • April 6, 2020 • www.HartfordBusiness.com WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS 2020 Tobin marks 30 years as a top lawyer at Robinson+Cole By Wendy Pierman Mitzel Special to the Hartford Business Journal R honda Tobin, partner at Hart- ford law firm Robinson+Cole, is the only woman, and one of only five Connecticut attorneys, named as a fellow in the American College of Coverage Coun- sel, the preeminent association of lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders. She also has been named a fel- low of both the Connecticut and American Bar Associations, and holds membership in the Defense Research Institute and Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, among other groups. From 2007 to 2016, Tobin served as chair of the litigation commit- tee of the United States Law Firm Group, a 17-member association of leading national law firms, of which Robinson+Cole is the exclusive Con- necticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island member. Those accomplishments are not surprising, according to her col- leagues, although Tobin had not even planned on taking up law as a career. "One thing I knew when I graduated from college, was that I didn't want to be a lawyer like my brother and sister. I thought it wasn't going to be excit- ing enough," she explained. "I followed in their footsteps, anyway." Tobin, a frequent lecturer at insurance industry conferences who regularly provides training sessions to her insurer clients, said one of her proudest accomplishments has been spending her entire law career with one firm. This year she is marking her 30th year at Robinson+Cole, a testament to her loyalty to the firm and vice versa. Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Stephen Goldman said Tobin "pro- vides much of the glue that binds our firm together. She has the uncondi- tional respect of our lawyers and staff and serves as a role model for many of our younger lawyers who are in the process of building their careers." She attributes her management and people skills to lessons she learned in retail before heading back to Duke University School of Law. In 1990, Tobin joined Robinson+Cole, one of the 200 larg- est law firms in the country, and represents insurance companies in litigation, arbitration and mediation of disputes involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith, and extracontractual liability. She has significant trial experience in state and federal courts, and partici- pates in high-profile litigation, includ- ing several multimillion-dollar cases arising out of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers. "I love the challenge, I haven't had two cases the same," she said. "It keeps you on your toes … . The law changes all the time. And I get to work with a team of people who are really amazing." "Our culture is important to us," she added. "It's why I came to R+C back when I was starting. There is a commitment to collaboration, inclu- sion and civility." Tobin said she is proud to have been a leader for the last 12 years in firm management. "I want to ensure the decisions that we're making are consistent in per- petuating that culture," she explained. "I want to be a voice that guides us so that we do not go astray." Rhonda J. Tobin Partner Robinson+Cole LLP What's been your biggest profes- sional accomplishment so far? Today it's rare to spend your entire career at one law firm, but this year I'm celebrating my 30th anniversary at Robinson+Cole. My practice includes advising clients on cutting-edge and 'ripped from the headlines' issues, and my partners have entrusted me to help lead the firm for the last 12 years as part of our managing committee. What's your next big goal? I want to continue to work with our incredibly talented team of insurance coverage lawyers to partner with our clients to solve their next challenges as the insurance industry evolves. I also want to continue influencing the collaborative, inclusive and civil culture of the firm. What legacy do you want to leave? I hope that my legacy will be that I contributed not just to the success but also to the culture of Robinson+Cole. That I could be held up as an example of the values that are so important to us — collaborating to deliver excel- lent client service; always being professional and practicing with integrity; and dedication to our community. And hopefully that I was a positive role model and mentor for younger lawyers. How do you maintain success? I've developed strong relation- ships with our clients — many of whom have become friends — by helping them anticipate, under- stand and resolve their issues. I work with really smart people, both at the firm and my clients, and working as a team and ensur- ing a diversity of viewpoints has been key to my success. What are your keys to maintain- ing work/life balance? I've realized that I could be a good lawyer and a good mother and a good spouse, but I might not always be able to do that all at the same time. There are days when you are better at some of those things than others. But if over the long haul you have times when you are pretty good at each of them, you've succeeded. PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED

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