From the Classroom to the Courtroom: A Life in Law

By Keith Bouchard ’14

John Rothstein ’89 knew in grade school that he wanted to become a lawyer. As a child he dreamt of professional baseball stardom, but later found inspiration during school breaks as a ‘bag carrier’ for his grandfather, an attorney in Boston. “He always seemed to love what he did for a living, and I wanted to love what I did … as well,” says Rothstein. He now operates his own legal firm, the Law Office of John A. Rothstein in Canton, Massachusetts, where he’s working to change the way¬†today’s lawyers interact with clients.

John Rothstein - Senior picture

John Rothstein's senior yearbook photo

Discovering his potential

Twenty-seven years ago, Rothstein’s perception of the world had looked quite different. As a young and timid man, his first day in Grafton Hall comes back vividly. Like most prospective students, the idea of college life had both excited and unnerved him: “I felt as if [what] I was feeling could be read on my face like a psychology textbook.” He quickly realized not to fear the unknown. Within a couple hours of his arrival, Rothstein was in a room of a dozen like-minded students, who would soon became some of his closest friends, and remain so to this day. Rothstein eventually became vice president of his class and earned a Bachelor of Science in History.

Applying life’s lessons

He says what’s most important in life is the ability to adapt. “The one thing that is constant in the world is change,” and he has aptly applied this bit of wisdom to his legal career. Stressing the importance of being proactive, Rothstein has sought to change the way he associates with his clients. He says: “Historically, lawyers have been reactive in their approach to legal representation … ‘Reacting’ to a legal issue is both costly and time-consuming [for the client].” Rothstein calls his new model the ‘Proactive Legal Strategy Plan,’ a unique approach in the legal field which encourages long-term relationships between lawyers and clients. “The benefit of a proactive legal strategy is that it costs far less to avoid a legal dispute than it does to litigate it.”

Rothstein’s firm uses the latest technology in the legal field, which allows lawyers and clients easier access to critical documents and information. With this system, his legal team is able to work remotely, and access client data at any time. His strategy has helped his team to encourage open communication and strengthen relationships with clients.

The Rothsteins

The Rothsteins - Clockwise from top left: Nancy, John, Julia (12), Licorice "Lix", and Madelyn "Maddy" (9)

“At the risk of sounding like I’m pandering, every day of my four years at Plymouth State was valuable and life changing,” recalls Rothstein, who says college helped him to have faith in what he could accomplish both as a student and as an individual. “[College] fostered my love of learning and doing research, both of which are important skills in college, law school, and in legal practice.”