In January 2023, the University of Maine School of Law opened its first Rural Practice Clinic in Fort Kent, Maine.
The new Clinic brings access to legal representation and resources to rural communities, which have recently been underserved throughout Maine. As a state, Maine is facing a shortage of lawyers and access to representation, a scarcity even more pronounced in rural areas.
The majority of Maine’s population – 60 percent – lives rurally.
As part of Maine Law’s Legal Aid Clinic, the Rural Practice Clinic will rely on the work, drive, and initiative of Maine Law students. Each semester a new group of students will staff the Clinic, living, working, and studying in Fort Kent, experiencing what it means not just to practice as a rural lawyer but to be an integral part of rural communities. The clinic program aims to help meet the immediate need for lawyers in northern Maine while also training more new lawyers to serve rural communities throughout the state and beyond.
More than half of Maine’s lawyers are located in Cumberland County.
Maine Law established the Rural Practice Clinic with bipartisan support from the Maine Legislature and seed investment from the Office of the Maine Attorney General.