Rhode Island Legal Resources

Overview of the Rhode Island Court System

Unlike most U.S. states, Rhode Island has no intermediate appellate court. The Rhode Island Superior Court exercises general jurisdiction over the state's district and family courts and presides over both civil and criminal cases. Unusually for a trial court of general jurisdiction, the Superior Court shares concurrent jurisdiction with the Rhode Island Supreme Court in habeas corpus proceedings; this is left to the sole prerogative of the Supreme Court in most states.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court reviews appeals from the Superior Court and, as the preeminent judicial authority, exercises its jurisdiction over all state courts. The Supreme Court hears appeals in cases involving serious felonies, procedural errors in a lower court, questions of constitutional law, disputes regarding state election laws and similar matters.

Rhode Island Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Rhode Island attorney by location and by practice area. We have Rhode Island attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

Rhode Island Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Rhode Island legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

LawInfo's Residential Lease Agreement seeks to clarify and simplify relations between landlords and tenants. Leasing unoccupied real estate may be a good way to earn some extra income, but it can also lead to complications if the terms and conditions of property ownership have not been clearly established. A carefully prepared lease form allows all parties to understand and better abide by the conditions of ownership and provides evidence for reversing or addressing a perceived violation if needed.

Many property owners neglect or delay the construction of a Last Will and Testament, oftentimes unintentionally harming themselves and their intended inheritors in the process. Visitors to LawInfo can use this free form to begin crafting an intelligent estate plan that helps ensure that their assets are distributed and managed as they please after they pass on. Whether the plan is trust-based or will-based, a properly conceived Last Will and Testament can be a valuable tool that gives peace of mind to property owners and their inheritors.

A Power of Attorney grants legal authorization to an agent to act on a person's behalf in certain legal matters. In terms of estate management, this allows the appointed agent to conduct the property owner's affairs even in his or her absence and help ensure the property's management in the event of the owner's incapacitation. As a result, a POA can be an invaluable resource for property owners and other professionals to more efficiently further their interests and extend their will past the boundary of their physical limitations.

Starting a Rhode Island Business

The business section of the Rhode Island Government offers prospective business owners a starting point from which to begin their endeavors. The site allows for businesses owners to register for sales permits, tax withholding and more and offers information concerning business-related statutes enacted by the Rhode Island Legislature. In addition, the section links to various websites that may be of interest to entrepreneurs, such as the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Business Information Center.

Rhode Island Business Statistics

Rhode Island is home to three Fortune 500 companies: CVS Caremark (CVS), Textron (TXT) and United Natural Foods (UNFI).

With 95,471 operating establishments reported in 2010, small businesses have a profound impact on the state's economy; they employ 55.4 percent of Rhode Island's private-sector labor and comprise nearly 96 percent of total employers. Furthermore, Rhode Island's ongoing economic recovery may make it an inviting location for prospective business owners. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the real gross state product increased by 2.6 percent in 2011 while unemployment decreased by 0.4 percent.