A look back: The modern day University of Maine School of Law at 50

November 1, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – Fifty years ago, the modern day University of Maine School of Law opened its doors at 68 High Street in Portland.

While our Law School’s roots trace back to 1898 and the original University of Maine Law School in Bangor, the opening of the “new” school in the fall of 1962 represents the birth of Maine Law as we know it today. Maine’s Legislature authorized the state’s new public law school in 1961, associated with the University of Maine and located in Portland.

In the fall of 1962, Maine Law had 27 students, three professors, a librarian and assistant librarian. Founding Dean Edward S. Godfrey led the effort to build Maine Law from the ground up, from the faculty and staff to the library and curriculum. Under Dean Godfrey’s leadership, the law school earned full ABA accreditation just four years after opening.

Godfrey and his colleagues also made sure to honor alumni and the connections to Maine Law’s predecessor institutions: the University of Maine School of Law (1898-1905); the University of Maine College of Law (1905-1920); the Peabody Law School (1927-1941) and Portland University Law School (1947-1961).

“The future of the school looks bright,” Godfrey wrote in 1965. “It should become a powerful force for good in the life of the state.”

The Law School became part of the newly created University of Maine System in 1970 and moved to its current location at 246 Deering Avenue in Portland in 1972. Today, with more than 3,000 alumni throughout the U.S. and abroad, many of whom have made significant and lasting contributions to public service, Maine Law continues to fulfill the vision that was set out by its founding dean.

Maine Law is proud to commemorate this 50-year milestone. A timeline of the Law School’s history is available here.


Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: