Joy Naifeh


Class of 2018

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Undergrad: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Graduate: Cornell University


University of Tennessee, Knoxville: Double Major – Bachelors of Arts in both History and Anthropology

Cornell University: Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning

What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?

I worked for Historic New England, a regional non-profit museum organization, as a Preservation Manager. I was in charge of the restoration and maintenance of seven house museums in three states.

Maine Law

Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?

I wanted to change the focus of my career as a Preservationist from the care of individual homes and landscapes to something which will allow me to have wider involvement in the preservation of our built environment and cultural heritage. When looking at law schools, I was drawn to Maine not only because I used to live in Portland and loved the area, but also because I had friends who went to the school. Through them I was able to interact with faculty and staff during events and was struck by the supportive, down-to-earth atmosphere. I was, and am, confident that I will be able to craft an experience here which will prepare me to succeed as I begin my “second” career.

What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law student?

I have found supportive faculty, staff, and fellow students who are willing to listen when I’m having a hard time. And knowing upperclassmen who can give you pointers doesn’t hurt, either.

What are you looking to do after graduation, and how has Maine Law helped to facilitate that goal?

I want to work in Preservation and Cultural Heritage Law after graduation. I believe I am the first person to attend Maine Law with this field in mind. There are other law schools with dedicated programs in what I want to do, but one of the reasons I chose Maine Law was because I wanted to ensure I gained solid footing in being a lawyer before becoming a specialist. Maine Law allows for this via the curriculum and clinic opportunities while still affording me the opportunity to not only craft externship(s) or a semester placement in D.C., but also take advantage of available summer programs to gain the hands-on experience I need in Preservation/Cultural Heritage Law. As an example, this summer I completed a five credit course in International Law, Cultural Heritage, and the Arts offered by Tulane University in Siena, Italy. These credits count toward my graduation requirements here at Maine Law.


Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?

I work in the Dean’s Office, and I am the Executive Director of the LGBT+ Law & Policy Group. I am also on the Moot Court Board for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. I was a 1L/2L class representative to the Student Bar Association (SBA).


Portland has a reputation for its vast array of food options. Do you have any favorite restaurants or grocery stores?

Oh geez! There are so many good places to eat, both in Portland and the surrounding area. The Corner Room, Blue Spoon, The Bayou Kitchen, Duckfat, The Frog & Turtle, Miyake, Pai Men Miyake, etc., etc. I will say my guilty pleasure is a bacon, egg, and cheese on an English muffin from Anania’s when I’m running late in the morning.