In 1972 Nick started his career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia where he tried many cases and ran several investigations.  While serving in that capacity and later while in private practice in Philadelphia, he regularly served on the three-neutral panels of the Court-Annexed Arbitration program.

He moved to Rhode Island in 1977 where he has served as an Assistant Public Defender, General Counsel for the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island, Chief Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, Special Prosecutor for R.I. Credit Union failures, Counsel to the Attorney General, and legal counsel for numerous colleges, universities, and other non-profit organizations.  

Nick has mediated and arbitrated a variety of cases, established an ADR program for resolving tort claims against the state of Rhode Island and has participated in a variety of arbitrations and mediations representing parties.

Currently he serves on the:

  • American Arbitration Association Commercial Panel of Arbitrators
  • American Arbitration Association Labor and Employment Panel of Arbitrators
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (FINRA) Panel of Arbitrators
  • Rhode Island Superior Court Arbitration and Mediation Panels
  • Rhode Island Bar Association Fee Dispute Arbitration Panel, and
  • formerly as a Rhode Island District Court pro bono mediator

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Significant Cases

  • Cruise v. Capitol International Airways, Inc., 396 F.Supp. 958 (1975), (successfully represented plaintiff ending gender discrimination at airline)
  • Commonwealth v. Gregg, 470 Pa. 323, 368 A.2d 651, (Pa. 1977),( represented defendant reversing conviction for murder/life sentence and quashing indictment)
  • State v. Fogarty, 433 A.2d 972, (R.I., 1981) (establishing right of lay witnesses to opine on individual's intoxication)
  • Gorman v. University of Rhode Island, 646 F. Supp 799 (D.R.I. 1986), aff’d in part and rev’d in part, 837 F.2d 7 (1st Cir. 1988) (successfully representing university in upholding its student discipline system; cited more than 200 times)
  • Cipolla v. Rhode Island College Board of Governors for Higher Education, 742 A.2d 277, 281 (R.I.1999) (successfully representing college in lawsuit applying election of remedies doctrine)
  • University of Great Falls v. N.L.R.B., 278 F.3d 1335, (D.C. Cir. 2002) (successfully representing college's first amendment rights against National Labor Relations rule and decision resulting in new national standard)
  • Yi Gu v. R.I. Pub. Transit Auth., 38 A.3d 1093 (R.I. 2012) (successfully obtaining a new trial for a personal injury plaintiff)


Nick holds a BA from Cornell, a JD from Columbia Law School and certificate from Harvard University School of Education's professional development program for higher education lawyers. 

He received his first arbitration and mediation training in 1972 and 1984 respectively and has since been participating regularly in ADR education programs of the American Arbitration Association, American Bar Association's section of Dispute Resolution, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Corp., Rhode Island Labor and Employment Relations Association, University of Rhode Island's Schmidt Labor Center, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Publications and Teaching

Nick has presented more than 25 programs on a variety of preventive legal practices for the American Council on Education, National Association of College and University Attorneys, National Business Institute, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and Rhode Island Bar Association. 

He has been an adjunct professor of political geography, business law and higher education law at the University of Rhode Island, adjunct professor of international relations at Salve Regina University, (in conjunction with the Naval War College), and lecturer on nonprofit law at Rhode Island College.

His publications include:

  • Books: Strategic Legal Planning: The College And University Legal Audit, 2nd Ed., College Legal Information, Inc., Nashville, 2d ed., 2008; first ed. 1998;
  • Managing Overseas Programs and Liability, College Legal Information, Inc., Nashville, 1999; (first two chapters)
  • Legal Deskbook For Administrators of Independent Colleges and Universities, Baylor University, 1993, updated 1994-2003 (sections on employment discrimination and affirmative action).
  • Articles: "I've Been Sued, What Happens Now?," National Association of College and University Attorneys, 2002;
  • "The Standard of Proof in Student Disciplinary Cases," 12 Journal of College and University Law 71, 1985.
  • "First Amendment Principles Bar Faculty Collective Bargaining at Religious Colleges and Universities," Higher Education Law Bulletin, 2002
  • "Privacy in the World of Education: What Hath James Buckley Wrought?," R.I. Bar Journal, February 1998
  • "R.F.R.A. Lives!," Higher Education Law Bulletin, 1998
  • "The Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Continuing Implications for Higher Education," Higher Education Law Bulletin, 1997

Pro Bono Service

  • Member, Fulbright Specialist Roster, U.S. Department of State
  • Director, Massachusetts Sober Housing Corporation
  • Director and Executive Committee, Mental Health Association of Rhode Island
  • Chair of the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs
  • Editorial Board Member of the Journal of College and University Law
  • Advisor, Counsel, Director, and Officer of the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island
  • Pro Bono legal counsel for political asylum applicants
  • Chair of the Little Compton, Rhode Island Planning Board

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