Nicholas Janzen

Background

Class of 2021

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Undergrad: University of Alabama

Majors/Minors: Political Science/Liberal Arts

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

I reported on energy and environmental issues for public radio stations in Louisiana and Indiana.

Maine Law

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

First, a little backstory: I decided to go to law school because I want to do environmental law. I developed this goal while covering that beat as a reporter in Indiana. As I was deciding on which law schools to apply to, my partner got a job in New Hampshire. So, I decided to apply to schools in New England, and we moved out here (a region of the country I had never been to before). I applied to just about every school in northern New England and Boston.

As I started hearing back from schools and learning more about them, I realized Maine Law was a bit of a Goldilocks school, at least given my interests. Some schools in the region offer more environmental law courses than a student could take in three years; others offer none. Maine Law falls in the middle, and I appreciate that balance — I can get exposure to the area I’m interested in, but I’ll also have the time to explore other topics I’m curious about or just take courses that the bar exam will test.

Another thing that stood out to me while I was applying and during my Admitted Students’ Day visit —and that I’ve confirmed over my first year at Maine Law—is that the environmental law faculty here are all amazingly brilliant people. (This actually applies to all the faculty I’ve interacted with!)

These reasons, combined with the fact that I really enjoy all Maine has to offer personally, are why I choose Maine Law.

How would you describe your experience at Maine Law?

I’ve had a great experience at Maine Law. Look, the first year is hard, no doubt about it. But I’ve made a lot of really amazing friends, I’ve learned a ton, the first-year professors are great people. I also really appreciate how many events are available, whether it’s a lunchtime talk put on by one of the student organizations or a larger symposium hosted by the Law School itself or even a happy hour sponsored by the state bar association. I’ve found it very rewarding to be able to meet new people and talk to them about interesting, important topics. It’s been a very rewarding year.

What is one thing that has surprised you about Maine Law?

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first-year curriculum. I went to law school for a specific reason, and even though not much of the first-year is substantively similar to what I want to do, it’s all been broadly interesting.

What are you hoping to do after graduation, and how is Maine Law helping you to facilitate that goal?

Ideally, I’d like to help companies build renewable energy projects in New England. So, I’m hoping to end up at a private firm that does that type of work. Maine Law helps in a few ways. First, many of the larger firms in Portland conduct on-campus interviews at Maine Law for summer associate positions, which can sometimes lead to employment opportunities after law school. It’s also really easy to meet practicing attorneys through the Law School. Whether it’s through the Career Services Office’s mentorship program or just by asking a professor for the name of someone who would be willing to meet for coffee to discuss a given topic, Maine Law is plugged into the state’s legal community in a way that helps students network and identify job opportunities.

Activities

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

I am member of the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, the Energy and Environmental Law Society (EELS), and the Maine Juvenile Law Society (MJLS). In particular, EELS and MJLS are a great way to learn about interesting subject areas, and both organizations also hope to provide more volunteer opportunities for students moving forward.

Portland

What do you like best about Portland?

I really like being on the water. That’s a simple thing, and Portland has a ton to offer. Casco Bay is a beautiful region, and sometimes it’s nice to be able to just sit on a bench and watch the boats.

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

Figgy’s. It has the best fried chicken I’ve ever had outside the south.

Advice

For someone who is considering attending Maine Law, how would you describe the student community here?

My class is very supportive of each other. I didn’t find it competitive and I really appreciate that in a law school. I’ve already developed some deep friendships, which I especially value because I’m not from the area.