William P. Robinson was appointed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court by Governor Donald L. Carcieri, and his appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Rhode Island General Assembly on July 30, 2004.
Justice Robinson is a native of East Providence. He received his early education in that community and then attended high school at La Salle Academy in Providence.
After receiving degrees from the University of Louvain in Belgium and from the University of Rhode Island, Justice Robinson’s great interest in foreign languages and literature led him to the University of Connecticut, where he earned a doctorate in French and Spanish literature. After teaching at the University of Connecticut and serving in administrative capacities for the university both in this country and in France, Justice Robinson decided to attend law school. Before embarking on a legal career, Justice Robinson had lived in Western Europe for several years; he actually took his Law School Admission Test in Mannheim, Germany.
Upon graduation with honors from Boston College Law School, Justice Robinson served for two years as a law clerk with the United States Court of Appeals in Boston. He then joined the firm of Edwards & Angell in Providence, where he became a partner and served in the litigation department for over 27 years. Justice Robinson was perhaps best known among members of the bar for his frequent involvement in First Amendment and other media law cases.
Prior to his nomination to the Supreme Court, Justice Robinson served as chairman of the Federal Board of Bar Examiners for the District of Rhode Island. In addition, Justice Robinson served for eight years as an elected member of the East Greenwich School Committee, and he also served as a member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. He has long been active in the Boston College Law School Alumni Association, and he served for several years as a member of the Alumni Council.