Fabisch is Smithfield's new probate judge

Fabisch is Smithfield's new probate judge

SMITHFIELD - The town's new probate judge is lawyer Matthew Fabisch, a former Planning Board chairman who ran unsuccessfully for Town Council on the Republican ticket in 2010.

The Republican-dominated Town Council appointed Fabisch Nov. 19 in a 4-0 vote with Democrat Suzanna Alba abstaining, saying that while she had no problem with Fabisch, she had not had the opportunity to interview interim Probate Judge Nicholas Gorham.

She said Gorham had sought appointment to the part-time post, which he had filled since the death of F. Monroe Allen, who held the job on and off for decades before his death in 2012.

The judgeship, which pays $7,000 annually, carries a two-year term, with Fabisch's to expire in January of 2015.

The court, which convenes on Thursdays in Town Hall, deals with the disposition of estates, most commonly where no will exists; guardianships; and name changes. It also helps to resolve disputes over wills and guardianships.

Fabisch, 30, declined a new term as Planning Board chairman earlier this year while staying on as a member, citing the press of outside commitments. He told the council last week that because of his new appointment, he'll resign from the board.

Fabisch, who lives in the Esmond section of town, is a managing attorney with Fabisch Law LLC, which has offices in Warwick and Newport.

After graduating from Bridgewater State University he received his law degree from Roger Williams University in Bristol, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review.

After law school he clerked at the Rhode Island Supreme Court and served as an associate at a regional insurance defense firm, where he specialized in fields including insurance fraud and bad faith litigation before starting the Fabisch law firm.

Council President Alberto LaGreca Jr. said he was pleased to see a town resident named to the post and that the appointment in no way reflected negatively on the performance of Gorham, who lives in Coventry.