‘My greatest burden is also my greatest asset’
Chris Poulos graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in May 2016. He is currently the executive director of Washington Statewide Reentry Council.
Before he became Chris Poulos the standout student at the University of Maine School of Law, he was Chris Poulos the addict.
Before he was president of the Maine Law chapter of the American Constitution Society, he was Chris Poulos the convicted felon.
Before he landed a prestigious summer internship with The Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C., he was Chris Poulos the troubled kid from Portland who needed a second chance and — perhaps more than anything else — people to believe in him.
Poulos hasn’t forgotten his past. He isn’t running away from the struggles he endured, or the mistakes he made. Instead, the 32-year old continues to draw on all of his experiences, and every moment he spent changing his life for the better, as the fuel he needs to become a top attorney, mentor, and advocate for criminal justice policy reform. Poulos was a Dean’s List student who graduated from Maine Law in May 2016. Probation officers and others within the federal court system have described him as one of the most extraordinary examples of rehabilitation they have ever witnessed.
“My greatest burden is also my greatest asset. It is one thing to read a book about what it means to be in prison, be homeless, or put a needle in your arm, it is another thing entirely to have actually experienced and survived those challenges,” Poulos said. “I see myself as an asset to people in the criminal justice system, to Maine Law, and to the legal profession not in spite of my past, but because of it.”