Marpheen Chann

Background

Class of 2017

Hometown: Naples, Maine

Undergrad: University of Southern Maine

Majors/Minors: Political Science

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

Prior to coming to Maine law, I was heavily involved at USM, serving as a co-founder and president of USM’s Queer Straight Alliance, helping to organize and chairing the USM College Democrats, and serving as a Student Senator.

The highlight of my undergraduate career was serving as USM’s first Student Vice-President. As VP, I organized USM EdTalks 2014 and invited legislators to discuss the future of public higher education in Maine.

Maine Law

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

Many mentors and community members convinced me that Maine needed young people to stay in-state and lead. I also couldn’t find myself leaving Portland, a city I live in and love, nor could I leave such a beautiful state.

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

A culture of collaboration rather than competition. Beyond the glitz and glamor of fake legal dramas, the law, especially here in Maine, can be a profession grounded in compassion and concern for your own clients, the community, and even opposing counsel (most likely a classmate or fellow Maine Law grad).

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

The variety of folks who choose to attend Maine Law. You will find the traditional students who jump into law school right after undergrad, but you’ll also find folks who have careers but are looking for a change or to perhaps enhance their careers with the training that a J.D. offers.

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

I hate the word, but essentially lobbying and administrative, state, and local government law. I personally prefer to call it “white hat advocacy” or public interest lawyering, but “you say tom-ay-to, I say tom-ah-to.”

Activities

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

On campus, I was the chair the LGBT+ Law Caucus.

Off campus, I serve as the Minority Caucus Chair for the Maine Young Democrats and as a board member of Maine Association for New Americans.

When you are not at school, how do you like to spend your time?

I spend my downtime playing my acoustic and dabbling in songwriting. You’ll also find me out on weekends grabbing a drink or a bite to eat. By far, my new favorite habit is running the Back Cove around sunset.

Portland

Portland has a reputation for its vast array of food options. Do you have any favorite restaurants or grocery stores?

If there is one thing law school will do to you – it is the development of a bigger appetite! The average first year student will gorge themselves on potato-based donuts from Holy Donut on Park Avenue before heading off to class.

Those who struggle to get out of bed early enough can find comfort in sneaking down Brighton Avenue to grab some Pad Thai at Vientiane Restaurant or maybe even greasy bacon-dusted fries at NOSH on Congress.

Advice

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

It’s collaborative. It offers you an opportunity to breathe and not worry about whether the other person is looking to undercut you in class. Studying the law here is not a competition. Studying law here is about engaging with your professors and your fellow students to help each other better understand the law.