The University of Maine School of Law on Saturday, May 16, awarded J.D. degrees to 77 students, and post-professional LL.M. degrees to three students. The law school also awarded more than two dozen merit awards to graduates. Several hundred family members, friends, and invited guests attended the ceremony at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium.
Tom Allen, former six-term U.S. Congressman from Maine, was the keynote speaker. Allen encouraged the graduates to think about the legacies they will leave in the world, based on virtues such as kindness, courage, honesty, and the depth of their personal and professional relationships.
“Graduates need only look inside themselves to find their way forward,” Allen said. “My point is not that you should follow any particular course, but only that the world needs you, that you will be summoned to take action to help others, family, friends, or strangers at times in your lives. And in responding you are likely to find great satisfaction. Why? Because being engaged in a cause greater than yourself is a foundation stone of happiness.”
Also at commencement, the Honorable Janet Mills, Maine’s Attorney General, received the 2015 L.Kinvin Wroth Award. The award, named after a former dean at the school, honors a Maine Law graduate who has achieved distinction in his or her career by contributing as a leader, locally, nationally or globally, and who has helped advance his or her alma mater. Mills, a 1976 graduate of Maine Law, is the first woman Attorney General in Maine history. Her storied career has included service as a prosecutor, legislator, teacher, lawyer in private practice, and as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.
Elizabeth Boardman of Granville, Ohio, was the student speaker.
Seventy-seven students were awarded J.D. degrees, among them:
Ari Solotoff of Great Neck, N.Y., enjoyed a successful career in classical music before deciding to attend Maine Law. For 10 years he served in leadership administrative positions with symphony orchestras, including most recently as Executive Vice President of The Philadelphia Orchestra and as Executive Director of the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra. Ari earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and is a graduate of the Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders and the Orchestra Management Fellowship Program of the League of American Orchestras. This year, he was Managing Editor of the Maine Law Review, a Legal Writing Teaching Assistant, and the student intern for the Maine Justice Action Group. Ari has externed with Peter Fessenden, the Standing Chapter 13 Trustee for the District of Maine and with Judge Kermit Lipez of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. He also served as a judicial intern for Justice Jon D. Levy of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Ari has accepted a job offer at Bernstein Shur, where he previously worked as a summer associate.
Kaitlyn Husar of Wausau, Wisconsin, was selected by the American College of Bankruptcy as the 2015 Distinguished Bankruptcy Law Student for the First Circuit. Husar was chosen from a pool of nominees from law schools in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico. Husar served as an extern this semester for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland. She has also served as an extern for Pine Tree Legal Assistance, and worked as a student attorney at Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic. Husar was also one of four students to represent Maine Law at the 2015 Hon. Conrad B. Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition. Husar earned her B.A. in Economics and Conflict Studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
Stephen Wagner, originally from Trumbull, Connecticut, and a graduate of Maine’s College of the Atlantic, has accepted a one-year clerkship with the Maine Superior Court in Bangor. Winner of the 2014 Shur-Frinsko Award for Municipal Law and Local Governance, Wagner serves as an articles editor of Maine Law’s Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, and has been active in the area of farm and food law and policy. In pursuing this interest at law school, Wagner has clerked at the Maine Farmland Trust in Belfast, the Center for Food Safety in San Francisco, and Conservation Law Foundation in Portland. Most recently, as a summer/winter associate at the Portland law firm Lambert Coffin, he co-coordinated a conference on managing legal risk for farm and food business owners.