Dean at Maine Law to retire from deanship in 2015

Peter Pitegoff, dean of the University of Maine School of Law, announced today that he will retire from the deanship in June 2015. Pitegoff will remain at Maine Law as an active member of the faculty.

“This is a transition – it’s not farewell,” said Pitegoff, who joined the law school as dean in 2005. “Change in leadership can be healthy for any institution, and I believe the timing is right for Maine Law to begin a new chapter.”

Maine Law is one of only two public law schools in northern New England, and is the only law school in Maine. During his tenure, Pitegoff recruited top-notch faculty and staff; expanded collaboration with Maine’s judiciary, the organized bar, and public and private institutions; and oversaw numerous enhancements to the school’s program of legal education, adapting to the changing legal profession.

“Maine Law is well positioned to thrive in the coming years. I am grateful to numerous colleagues – faculty, staff, students, alumni, volunteers, university leaders, and supporters – who share credit for Maine Law’s recent progress and success,” Pitegoff said. “We will continue to train and nurture the next generation of lawyers and leaders, building on the traditions of academic excellence, civic engagement and public service that have long been at the core of a Maine Law education.”

Today’s announcement, more than a year in advance of the succession date, will enable Maine Law to conduct a robust national search for the next dean and to assure an effective transition. Here are selected accomplishments under Pitegoff’s leadership:

  • Maine Law expanded experiential learning opportunities for students, including the creation of the Juvenile Justice Clinic, the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, and the Intellectual Property Clinic. There also has been steady growth of field placements in the externship and summer fellowship programs.
  • Over the past three years, as the number of applicants declined at law schools across the country and in Maine, Maine Law maintained the quality, size and scope of its student body. In the fall of 2013, the incoming class of 86 students came from 14 states and Canada, 54 undergraduate institutions, and a wide range of prior careers.
  • A record number and amount of scholarships were awarded to Maine Law students in 2013, supported in part by generous contributions from alumni, law firms and friends of the law school.
  • Maine Law expanded interdisciplinary opportunities and career services, guiding students onto new career tracks as well as to traditional law jobs.
  • The law school has strengthened its global connections through a number of programs, including the Justice for Women Lecture series, visiting scholars, student exchanges and a new post-professional LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree as a complement to the core J.D. program.

When Pitegoff steps down, he will have served 10 years as dean of Maine Law. The average tenure for current deans at law schools nationally is four and one-half years. Pitegoff looks forward to returning to the classroom and engaging in research, policy work and public service in Maine as a professor of law.

Prior to joining Maine Law as dean in 2005, Pitegoff was a law professor for 17 years at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. He served as Vice Dean at SUNY Buffalo and founded a clinical program in community economic development law, which has been a model for transactional clinics at numerous law schools. Pitegoff previously served as legal counsel for the ICA Group in Boston, an economic development consulting firm.