Adam Swanson ’12 is an Aroostook County native who returned to Presque Isle in 2012 after graduating from Maine Law. He and his dog, Oscar, go to Swanson Law, P.A. every morning looking forward to the small town, “Main Street” practice.
What is your pre-Maine Law background?
I attended Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, where I graduated with BSBA and MBA degrees.
Why did you choose Maine Law?
Maine Law chose me. After living outside of Maine for five years, I wanted to return home. Maine Law’s small class size, reputation, and collegiality allowed me to build a strong network with future colleagues in Maine and New England.
Please describe your current practice. What led you to practice in a rural area?
I was an extern my 3L year for the Hon. Keith Powers of the Portland District Court. When asked by Judge Powers if I had employment lined up after graduation, I answered “no.” He then said: “There’s a job waiting for you in Presque Isle.” To my surprise, he proceeded to tell me that the job he spoke of required me to “hang a shingle.” I’m forever thankful for his advice. I not only got my feet wet early, I was able to swim. We opened in March 2013, and the business has rapidly grown since its inception. I primarily practice criminal defense and family litigation. Swanson Law employs one part-time contract attorney (a fellow Maine Law graduate), a full-time office manager, and we intend to hire a full-time associate attorney this fall.
What are the challenges and rewards of practicing in a rural area?
I sacrifice cultural diversity and easy access to entertainment found in areas such as Portland. However, most of my time is spent working, and the benefits of practicing in Presque Isle far outweigh the sacrifices. I’m spoiled. I’m my own boss, I have a diverse supply of work, I am in demand, and I get to practice with an experienced and supportive local bar.
Were there particular faculty members who influenced you?
The Clinic faculty, Jim Burke, Chris Northrop, Deirdre Smith, and Tina Schneider, were particularly influential. After practicing at the Clinic as a student attorney, I had the tools I needed to open my office. At Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, I met with clients, negotiated with prosecutors, and had multiple trials. Having this experience with the guidance of Maine Law’s Clinic faculty was invaluable.
Why should students consider Maine Law?
We hear horror stories about law school: a cut-throat environment, no life-balance, and drowning in student loan debt. I experienced none of this at Maine Law. In fact, I enjoyed law school. I made wonderful friends with classmates and faculty, gained the knowledge needed to practice, and developed a statewide network of people to put these tools to good use.