Class of 2018
Hometown: Westbrook, ME
Undergrad: University of Maine at Farmington
Major: BFA Creative Writing
What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?
I worked for several years in Fundraising and Grant Writing for different non-profits and political campaigns. I was the Deputy Finance Director for Cutler for Maine where I was in charge of compliance with State election laws, building a voter database, and prospect research. After the campaign, I joined the Emanuel and Pauline A. Lerner Foundation as the Grants Administrator.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?
Every time I met a lawyer I would ask them what their advice would be for someone considering law school. Each one encouraged me to pursue my interest. Because of my experiences using personal data to build successful fundraising strategies, I became really interested in how our personal data is used, and the ethical and legal obligations that businesses have to protect our data. I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer in order to be a part of that, but didn’t know how to articulate what that meant. (I got a lot of strange looks from lawyers and non-lawyers alike when I said I wanted to practice in data law.) When I began applying to law schools I saw an article about Maine Law’s Information Privacy Summer Institute, and I knew it was the right place to be.
A year after I was accepted, I was a student in the Summer Institute when the Law School announced the newly approved Certificate in Information Privacy Law. It was confirmation that I had made the right choice.
As a 3L, how would you describe your experience at Maine Law?
Maine Law has definitely surpassed my expectations. The first year was challenging because the expectations at law school are so different from undergrad. I had to study harder and think more critically than ever before. During my first summer, I participated in the Information Privacy Summer Institute and became CIPP/US certified. I interned at Dead River Company during my first summer and throughout my second year of law school where I applied and improved my research and writing skills. Second year I was busy! Once you know what you need to do, you can really excel at Maine Law, and that is what I did. I externed at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) in the Spring of my second year where I had the opportunity to dive into Privacy Law in depth. This summer I was the first Privacy Law Immersion Fellow, which was an eight week fellowship with two week rotations at Unum, Pierce Atwood, IDEXX, and WEX. This upcoming semester, I will be taking a group study in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with Visiting Professor Peter Guffin and three other students. This is a new law from the European Union (EU) that will go into effect as I graduate, and will affect many U.S. companies doing business with the EU directly and indirectly. The opportunity to study a new law like this, and compare it to a U.S. framework is really cutting edge, and is just another reason I love Maine Law.
What is one thing that has surprised you about Maine Law?
This spring I was looking for a summer experience where I could see firsthand what a Privacy Lawyer does in the real world. Because I wasn’t finding anything that was the right fit, I approached Rachel Reeves to propose an immersion fellowship in Privacy Law. Rachel worked with local companies and Professor Guffin to build a program where I could experience what it is like to be a Privacy Lawyer from four different perspectives. I was absolutely humbled and blown away at how supportive the school was of building a new program that would provide the opportunity I was looking for. Because of the opportunities I had as a 2L (taking Privacy Law and the Summer Institute, externing at the IAPP, and becoming CIPP/US certified), I was immediately treated as one of the team from day one at each rotation, and assigned meaningful projects and opportunities to participate in decision making. The fellowship has been such a rewarding experience, and has given me the practical skills to apply the law in various situations from multiple client perspectives. It is all thanks to the support and vision of the Law School, the continual hard work of Rachel, and the partnerships the school has with the legal community here in Maine.
What are you looking to do after graduation, and how has Maine Law helped to facilitate that goal?
I intend to capitalize on my experience and knowledge of Privacy Law that I have gained at Maine Law. Focusing on Privacy Law has been so rewarding. You have immediate access to a large community of Maine Law Alumni who are working in Privacy, the IAPP, and knowledgeable faculty that help guide you in a direction that is right for you. I haven’t been anywhere this summer that hasn’t commented on how much more experienced I am coming from Maine Law than other young attorneys entering the privacy field. In addition, the Law School has challenged me to incorporate courses in Intellectual Property, Business, Transactions, and Risk and Compliance in order to compliment my area of interest.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?
I am the Veterans Liaison for Maine Law and a Student Ambassador. Last spring I participated in the Duberstein Moot Court Competition with two teams from Maine Law. In addition to going to school, I continue to work in Philanthropy, and serve on the board for NLC – Maine.
What do you like best about Portland?
There is always someplace new to try, and someone willing to go try it with you. Portlanders, and those who live vicariously through them, are very passionate about their community. That passion translates into a great community to live, work, and play in.
What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?
I love taking a picnic to one of the great parks in Portland, especially East End Beach, or Bug Lite (South Portland), and watching the boats going in and out of the harbor. I also love to get on a ferry and explore the islands. Long Island has one of the best secluded beaches in Maine, and is a great day trip. Bring your lunch, a book, your bike, and a towel – you will not be disappointed!
For someone who is considering attending Maine Law, how would you describe the student community here?
Welcoming! You can go up to anyone at the Law School – student, faculty, or staff – and they will help you out or point you in the right direction. No matter if you walk into the Dean’s office to just say hello, or into the café to pick up a coffee, you will always be treated with kindness and respect.
If you could tell a prospective student one thing about Maine Law, what would it be?
The first year of law school is hard on everyone, whether they admit it or not. Almost no one comes into law school knowing what to expect or how to perform. Be patient and kind to yourself and others, treat it like a team sport not a road race, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.