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Matthew “Matty” A. Lopes Jr. is a Principal with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC. For most of his 35-year legal career, he has been actively involved in the court oversight of correctional systems and is a nationally recognized Special Master in correctional reform litigation.

For the past 26 years, he has served as the Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in the matter of Coleman v. Newsom. As Special Master in this case, Mr. Lopes leads a team of experts and monitors in overseeing the care provided to more than 30,000 seriously mentally ill inmates throughout the 34 institutions within the California prison system.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Lopes served as a court monitor, deputy Special Master and Special Master, respectively, in three additional major remedial correctional cases under the supervision of the United States District Courts of Georgia, Texas and Rhode Island.

  • In Alberti v. Sheriff of Harris County (Texas), he led negotiations to achieve an effective remedy for an overcrowded detention system built for 4,500 that had swelled to 14,000.
  • In Fambro v. Fulton County (Georgia), he successfully oversaw the implementation of remedial plans approved by the court regarding overcrowding, medical services, and sanitation.
  • Inmates of the Youth Training School v. Affleck (Rhode Island) was filed against the original Boys Training School. The court found that the defendants had been handicapped by lack of adequate facilities and trained personnel. As Special Master, he oversaw remediation activities and successfully worked with the Rhode Island General Assembly to approve construction funding for the modernized present-day facility that opened in 2009.

In addition to his current practice as a Special Master in the Coleman v. Newsom case, Mr. Lopes also leads the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice, as well as PLDO Strategies LLC, the government relations and communications subsidiary of the law firm, representing organizations ranging from Fortune 100 companies to nonprofit businesses, including organizations within the transportation, pharmaceutical, education, food service, health care, and insurance industries, among others.

Along with his distinguished work in prison reform and oversight, he successfully advocated for the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative to improve Rhode Island’s criminal justice system through the enactment of legislation supporting rehabilitation and informed decision-making in sentencing, probation, and parole.

He is also proud to have been intimately involved in the successful Rhode Island 2020 ballot initiative to remove the centuries-old word “plantations” from the official name of the State of Rhode Island.

Having once interned for former Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., Mr. Lopes has also been inspired to promote and advocate for increased minority representation and diversity in the selection and appointment of Rhode Island’s judiciary.

Mr. Lopes earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Rhode Island.

Contact & Links


  • Northwoods Office Park, Suite 215-N
    1301 Atwood Avenue
    Johnston, RI 02919


  • University of Pennsylvania, J.D., graduated 1987
  • Dartmouth College, AB, graduated 1984

Bar Admissions

  • Rhode Island, Rhode Island Bar Association


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • NAACP - Lifetime Member
  • National Museum of African American History & Culture - Member
  • Potomac Coalition - Member
  • Rhode Island Bar Association - Member
  • Rhode Island Bar Association/Committee on Minority Involvement - Past Member
  • State Law Resources, Inc. - Board Member, Past Chairman
  • Thurgood Marshall Law Society of Rhode Island - Member
  • Top 100 National Black Lawyers - Member

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2021 - Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2018 - Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2014 - Government Relations Practice

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Government Relations Practice, Providence (2021)
  • Government Relations Practice, Providence (2018)
  • Government Relations Practice, Providence (2014)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 for work in:

  • Government Relations Practice
  • Mediation

Special Focus:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Special Masterships in Prison Monitoring


  • Casque and Gauntlet Sr. Honor Society
  • East Providence Hall of Fame
  • Rhode Island International Athlete Scholar Hall of Fame
  • Providence Gridiron Hall of Fame
  • Cape Verdean Gala Hall of Fame
  • Clay Osborne Achievement Award, Music One
  • The Best Lawyers in America

Additional Areas of Practice:

  • Administrative / Regulatory Law


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