Cyrus CheslakBackground

Class of 2018

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Undergrad: Franklin & Marshall College

Majors/Minors: Government, Exploration in Environmental Studies.

What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?

I was a staff member for U.S. Senator Susan Collins in Washington, DC.  I handled legislation and policy related to agriculture and nutrition programs and went on to become the Office Manager, where I managed the internal administrative functions of the organization.

Maine Law

Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?

I chose Maine Law for its sense of community and because of its reputation for teaching. Many schools bill themselves as leaders in an area of law and uber-competitive, Maine Law maintains its balance of pushing its students to succeed no matter where and what they wish to practice.  Despite the competitive nature of law school in general, Maine Law struck me as a place where individual experience and perspective are valued.

What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law Student?

My wonderful wife, Kim, without a doubt.  I would be a hot mess without her.  I think the benefit of nearly eight years of work experience in a fast-paced, high-pressure professional office (where I worked with many attorneys) gave me a solid foundation for what to expect not only from law school but to set a high bar for professional expectations and performance.

What is one thing that has surprised you about Maine Law?

That the coffee shop closes at 2:45 pm.  They are missing out on serious business. In all seriousness, I am surprised at the diversity of the class and breadth of experiences and perspectives they bring to the table. There is a great variety of experiences, strengths, and interests in our class and the more I speak with my classmates, the more I am amazed by the great things they have done (and somehow still manage to do).

What are you looking to do after graduation, and how has Maine Law helped to facilitate that goal?

I like people. I enjoy working with people so I know that my area of focus will go towards those areas of law where interaction and negotiation are central. It is a bit early, but I am stoked about the opportunities presented by the clinic and the many internships and externships that Maine Law is able to facilitate for its students during school.

Activities

Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?

I try to play basketball with the Maine Law basketballers on Tuesdays/Thursdays.  I freely admit to being the worst player on the court every game but they still welcome me back every week. That speaks to the community of the school.

Portland

What do you like best about living in Portland?

After living in a bustling city where everyone was in a great big hurry, I really enjoy the pace of life and politeness of just about everyone.  They let you change lanes, hold the door for you, its great!  I also like that you can go down to the Old Port for a beer and sit next to a banker, a lobsterman, and a guy in flannel shirt and they’re all talking about the Red Sox or the Patriots.  It is a lively and diverse city in a lot of ways, and I really like it.

What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?

We have two dogs and there is a great network of trails, so we have really had some fun exploring those and tuckering out the pups.  We have some great friends that live in and around Portland, so we’re always glad to find a new spot to grab a beer or a bite.

Advice

How would you describe the student community here to someone who is considering attending Maine Law?

The community is one of mutual gain and benefit while pushing everyone to their limit.  People are competitive but not so much against others as with themselves. People are willing to ask each other questions and sit down to help you think through whatever you may be struggling with.  When you get asked a tough question in class and nail it, your classmates give you high-fives afterwards.  It’s a pretty good feeling to know that you all have each other’s backs.