A prominent East Lyme attorney left a large New London law firm last month to join a boutique in Essex.
Rob Tukey, 49, joined Gould-Larson law firm in Essex last month with longtime girlfriend Paige Quilliam. Both are East Lyme Native people.
Tukey and Quilliam met as children when Tukey was playing the East Lyme Little League with Quilliam’s older brother, Sean Stevens. The prospective attorneys attended East Lyme High School together before leaving their hometown to study law.
After years of meeting in the courtroom, Quilliam convinced Tukey to join the small team of lawyers at her law firm, which she has worked for about five years. Tukey served as a lawyer with Suisman Shapiro in New London for more than 21 years.
“Paige has asked me to work with her for a long time, but it was a pretty sudden decision for me,” he said. “The two companies couldn’t be more different.”
Tukey said he is excited about the opportunities a smaller company offers, such as more freedom in choosing the cases he argues and the clients he represents.
“I was a managing partner in my old firm that had 20 lawyers and 50 employees. It makes a big difference for me to come to a smaller firm with three lawyers and six employees,” said Tukey. “It’s a much more agile career and I will have many opportunities to expand my practice.”
At Suisman Shapiro, Tukey focused on family law. He will continue this practice in Essex, but said he will have the opportunity to expand his practice to cover more personal injury cases and some estate disputes. He also hopes to expand his real estate practice.
“Being able to expand my practice and select the cases that interest me is really what I look forward to,” he said. “Managing a smaller company is less complicated. I look forward to that in terms of quality of life, too.”
The highlight of his career so far, Tukey said, has been litigating various cases in the courtroom.
“My ability to handle countless cases and bring them to the courtroom when necessary has been my greatest achievement,” said the attorney. “The judges I have been fortunate enough to face are wonderful judges who will really hear what the lawyers have to say and I have been able to do a good job for and relate to my clients.”
Quilliam said she remembered having lunch with Tukey decades ago and talking about her plans to become family lawyers, and she always hoped to work with him.
“He’s a great attorney. I’ve had cases against him so I saw him in the courtroom. He’s a great trial attorney, he’s always prepared and he’s good at negotiating,” she said.
Through the legal community in southeast Connecticut, she was aware of its good reputation.
“When you have a small community of lawyers to work with, it’s easy to see who to work with and he was one of the best for me,” she said.
Quilliam said she thinks the change will be good for him, along with her and her partners.
“I think there will be a lot of opportunities because this is where we can pick cases that we really want to work on,” she said. “We are much more accountable to ourselves and can be more selective, I think. He can do what he wants, litigate as much as he wants. He has many options here, a lot of freedom.”
Quilliam is focused on family law and has been doing a lot of estate work and advocacy for children recently. She has been working as a lawyer since 1999.
Tukey has been a lawyer since 1996 and has degrees from Fairfield University and Western New England University.