Maine Law faculty are engaged in a wide range of activities designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the law. Below are some recent examples:

  • Orientation Programming: Professor Northrop and Associate Dean Wilshusen have regularly co-hosted a module for Orientation with the goal of raising DEI as a core issue in legal education.
  • Common Read: In Fall 2020 and Fall 2021, incoming 1Ls were required to read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Maine Law faculty moderated small reading group sessions as part of Orientation.
  • Racial Injustice in the Law: In Fall 2020, Maine Law offered this new course, team taught by ten Maine Law faculty members. The course examined racial injustice issues throughout a wide range of legal fields, including Property, Tax, Criminal Law, Business Law, Family Law, and many others, with different faculty members leading various sessions.  In Fall 2022, Maine Law will offer this course again, team taught by 100% of Maine Law faculty.
  • Changing Laws: In January 2021, Maine Law offered this new course, team taught by several Maine Law faculty members. Over 45 students enrolled in the course, which covered numerous topics, such as controlled substances, criminal/court records sealing and expungement, policing in schools/education disparities, and right/access to counsel.
  • Social Justice Lawyering: Offered in Fall 2021, this was a new course taught by Adjunct Professor Krystal Williams (’17) of the Alpha Legal Foundation.  In light of the social injustices that abound, this course explored the following questions:  How do we change the systems that allow a few to profit from the suffering of many? When, why, and how do people come together to effect change? And, what is a lawyer’s role in the process? The class was, ultimately, a course in practical leadership development where knowledge of the law and legal strategies are combined with self-awareness, resilience, and community support to create integrated and committed legal practitioners capable of engaging persuasively on various topics of national and global interest.
  • Impact Lawyering:  A Practicum for Social Justice Reform.  Offered in Spring 2022, this new course was an expansion of the Changing Laws course that was team taught in January 2021.  The course provided students with a comprehensive overview of the strategies and practical skills necessary to advocate effectively for public policy reform. Students identified a pressing systemic racial, economic, or social injustice in the community, which could be addressed through a change in law, regulation, ordinance, or other public policy and learn how to advance a solution. Students employed equity-based criteria for policy development, conducted a landscape analysis of decision-makers and influencers, determined a strategy for change, and implemented the tactics necessary to carry out that strategy. Specific skills covered included “power mapping”; drafting legislative and/or regulatory proposals; locating, evaluating, and using social science research and data; lobbying elected officials; preparing and delivering written and oral testimony; working in coalition; and developing communications tools and targeted messaging. In addition to learning the strategies and skills to advance a policy change, students gained an understanding of the broader context for influencing law and public policy and the possible roles lawyers can play in social change efforts.
  • Beyond the Headlines: Professors Northrop, Moffa, and Pi participated in “Beyond the Headlines” Q&A with students.  Started in Fall 2021, Beyond the Headlines provides a forum for friendly conversations during the semester connecting legal thinking to current events and our personal commitment to justice.
  • Human Library. The inaugural Human Library took place in Fall 2021.  The Human Library brings curious minds together to create a brave space where event speakers (“books”) from unique and diverse backgrounds share their stories with attendees (“readers” – meaning you!). The intimate, small group setting aims to provide a comfortable atmosphere for open discussion and positive change around topics that society has traditionally deemed “taboo.”                                                                                                                                                 

Many Maine Law faculty have incorporated social justice themes, including issues of race, in particular, into their assigned readings and class discussions. The following examples highlight some of the issues raised in select courses:

  • Business Associations:  Professor Pitegoff’s Business Associations course, most recently in Fall 2022, explored issues related to corporate responsibility and the increasing attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts of corporate enterprises. In that context, the class examined the shortcomings of corporate approaches to ESG, the lack of diversity on many corporate boards, and racial discrimination and exclusion in both employment practices and financial markets.
  • Cannabis Law: Professor Bloomberg focused numerous class discussions on racial inequities in cannabis law and dedicated separate classes to the impacts of the war on drugs on communities of color and to building social equity in the cannabis industry.
  • Contracts:  Professor Feinberg incorporated readings/discussions that address diversity-related concerns, particularly in the context of the doctrine of unconscionability and in determinations of how the “reasonable person” would view a given situation.
  • Civil Procedure § 1:  Professor Wriggins assigned supplemental readings, including the case Confederated Tribes v. Lujan (a case about joinder and necessary parties to give important context about federal Indian Law) and readings on Ashcroft v. Iqbal (a case on qualified immunity and on procedural rules that allow large litigants to readily seek to collect small amounts from pro se defendants, which raises equality issues in a surprising way).  Professor Wriggins also emphasized in the course the access issues raised by different filing fees and other fees in federal court versus state court.  She spoke in class about the Hansberry v. Lee case, which deals with issues of residential segregation and racism.
  • Civil Procedure § 2:  Professor Caruso in class evaluated ways that rules about process of litigation, particularly in federal courts, actually shape and limit access to justice, and what (and whose) interests our process rules serve. The class explored what the procedural rules mean for people without access to legal representation, and how these rules and doctrines can systematically exclude or de-value the lived experiences of minority communities. The class also explicitly studied issues related to tribal litigation in federal court; how some tools are used more, less, or differently in discrimination and other civil rights cases; and the background of systematic or legalized discrimination that make up the backdrop of several seminal civil procedure cases (including the famous case on racial housing discrimination at the heart of the acclaimed play A Raisin in the Sun).
  • Civil Rights Litigation:  Taught by Professor Caruso, this course focuses on the process and particular challenges of litigating civil rights, and particularly of litigating constitutional rights against the government. The course deals with a variety of rights that are central to current social justice advocacy, including policing and use of force, incarceration and confinement, and myriad forms of private discrimination (in things like employment and housing).  It also explores institutional impact litigation, such as school desegregation and prison reform litigation, and the possibilities and limitations of that kind of structural litigation in the current context. Pervasive themes of the course include ways that governments limit and shape their own liability and that of their agents, the consequences of litigation and claim procedure for substantive access to justice and relief, and the role and obligations of attorneys in social movements.
  • Constitutional Law: Professor Bloomberg’s Constitutional Law class largely revolved around issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation.  In addition to the core Constitutional Law cases in these areas, Professor Bloomberg incorporated numerous readings and cases regarding these issues, including writings by Frederick Douglass, Charles Black, and Barack Obama.  Professor Bloomberg also focused on the (often overlooked) history around the Reconstruction Era in teaching the Fourteenth Amendment.  This history provides key context for understanding our nation’s current shortcomings in racial justice.
  • Criminal Law Seminar:  Professor Pi emphasized the history of race rioting/rebellion from the 1960s to the present. The greater part of the course involved analyzing the relationship between race and policing from a historical, statistical, and philosophical perspective.
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigations:  Professor Pi talked about the black/white disparity in crime rates, “high crime areas” (as a factor in determining reasonable suspicion) and discrepancies between how a “reasonable white person” and a “reasonable black person” perceive their freedom to disengage with police during a stop.  Professor Pi also spoke at some length in the Criminal Procedure course about the problems of over-criminalization, the war on drugs, and abuse/misuse of Terry stops.
  • Economic Development Law Practicum:  Professor Pitegoff’s Economic Development Law Practicum, in Spring 2023, is a skills course in community-based economic development. It focuses on economic justice, affordable housing, quality job development, finance transactions, and community revitalization, particularly in disadvantaged urban and rural settings. Explicit attention to minority-owned and women-owned enterprises, and to the history, domestic policies, and practice of economic development and finance, give rise to a pervasive theme of diversity, equity, inclusion, and economic and racial justice.
  • Elder Law: Professor Feinberg’s assigned readings and discussions focused on topics such as: (1) racial disparities in the context of the Social Security Program; (2) the disproportionate toll that that the pandemic has taken on women, including in the context of retirement savings; (3) discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in the context of housing for the elderly; and (4) racial disparities in advance directives and end of life care.
  • Employee Benefits Law: Professor Pitegoff’s Employee Benefits Law course, most recently in Fall 2022, examined federal regulation of employer-sponsored benefit plans with respect to retirement and health care. The underlying public policies implicate issues of economic and racial inequity in access to profit-sharing plans, family and medical leave, fair pay and benefits, workers’ compensation law, collective bargaining, and more.  This inquiry also includes explicit attention to government benefit policies such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Fair Labor Standards, and the Affordable Care Act, and their implications with respect to equity.
  • Family Law:  Professor Feinberg’s assigned readings and discussions focused on topics such as:  (1) the role of race in the historical and current laws governing family privacy, marriage entry, and child custody; (2) the role of gender in the historical and current laws governing marital rights, divorce, property distribution, alimony, and child custody; (3)  the role of sexual orientation in historical and current laws governing family privacy, marriage entry, parentage establishment, and child custody; (4) class-based considerations in the context of spousal and child support; and (5) issues faced by transgender individuals in the child custody context.
  • Health Care Law & Policy: Professor Wriggins’ course, which is open to MPH students and MBA students, dealt extensively with race and equity issues.  It covered the racial segregation and racist history of the US health care system and the changes wrought by the passage of Medicare.  It foregrounded issues of race and access to health care throughout the US health care “system.”  It focused on legal issues connected with racial and other types of discrimination in health care (such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964).  Students also read important works focusing on reform by experts such as Dayna Bowen Mathews and others.  They also spent significant time discussing rural health care access and funding.
  • Juvenile Law: Jill Ward, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy & Law, incorporated themes of racial disparities and systemic/structure racism throughout the semester and focused a couple of classes specifically on Race and the Juvenile Justice System and Specialized Fourth Amendment Protections in the School Context and related disparities.
  • Local Government Law:   Local governments are deliverers of important public services, and also sites of community building, self-identity, and civic engagement. Among the core themes for this course on the fundamentals of local government law, taught by Professor Caruso, are: who is included when we legally define communities, who gets to decide what interests a municipality will serve, and what different structures mean for who gets to participate in governing choices, and how. The course explicitly explores local government both for its history and possibilities for empowering and protecting minority and vulnerable communities, and the persistent use of municipal law and urban policy to limit, exclude, and disempower marginalized groups- particularly racial and ethnic minority communities in urban spaces.
  • Nonprofit Organizations:  Professor Pitegoff’s Nonprofit Organizations class in Spring 2022 included examination of the central role of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy in grappling with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This involved current institutional initiatives, as well as the evolution of tax law promoting anti-poverty efforts, community revitalization, and inclusive nonprofit governance.
  • Privacy Law:  Professor Bloomberg focused numerous class discussions on how privacy law has historically prejudiced women, minorities, and other disfavored groups. He also assigned group projects on facial recognition technology and cyber-harassment.
  • Professional Responsibility: Professor Pitegoff’s Professional Responsibility course in Spring 2023 includes a collaborative mid-term project assessing the new disciplinary rule addressing discrimination and harassment in the legal profession. In small groups, students analyze Rule 8.4(g) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which was recently adopted in Maine. Each group produces a policy essay and discusses the rationale, history, value, and criticism of the Rule and how best to improve upon it. Throughout the semester, the class explores issues of inequity and access to justice, particularly with respect to criminal defense and civil legal services for indigent clients.
  • Selected Topics in Modern Family Law Seminar:  Professor Feinberg included assigned readings and discussions focused on topics addressing: a variety of issues relating to racial discrimination within the adoption and foster care systems; discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the adoption context; the treatment of transgender individuals in the child custody context; and discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to serve as foster parents for children who enter the U.S. as unaccompanied minors.
  • Taxation I:  Professor Maine’s course highlighted and discussed several racial disparities in the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Torts:  Professor Moffa’s Torts course included two separate guest lectures by Prof. Jenny Wriggins, accompanied by reading assignments from her book The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender, and Tort Law and her Howard Law Journal piece Torts, Race, and the Value of Injury, 1900-1949.  The students also read and discussed a piece by critical race theorist Mari Matsuda, On Causation, in which she demonstrates how the tort system sacrifices human bodies to maintain the smooth flow of the economic system.

Principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion are deeply embedded in the everyday work of Maine Law’s clinical programs. Through each of the clinical programs, students deal directly with the impact of systems on low-income individuals, people of color, and other historically-marginalized populations and learn how to advocate on behalf of their clients. In addition to representing individual clients on a wide-range of case types, students also engaged this year in appellate litigation and policy work in an effort to combat systemic racism – whether it be seeking to combat racism within the U.S. asylum process through the filing of a lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or through the recent filing of a complaint in federal court seeking to end the unethical transfers of ICE detainees in Maine to areas down south or through ongoing work to close down the state’s school to prison pipeline, which has a significant disproportionate effect on youths of color and youth suffering from a disability or learning difference. This project involves faculty and students advocating for ongoing reforms to keep youth out of the justice system and to increase investment in community alternatives to incarceration; changing school policies to prevent suspensions, expulsions, and other exclusionary practices that keep youth from engaging in their education programs; and providing state-wide training to juvenile defenders and education advocates that provide the skills and support necessary to do this work well.

In addition to developing these practical legal skills through case and project work, the Clinic experience fosters in students a deeper understanding of the inequities that exist within the legal system, a practice of listening to those who suffer at the hands of unjust systems, and the skills to take action to address systemic biases. This year, each of the clinic-wide seminar classes infused readings, exercises and discussions relevant to bias, social justice and anti-racism, along with specific classes on cultural humility, lawyering for social justice, and trauma-informed lawyering. Our Clinic’s summer program also features weekly student-directed and student-led dialogue on the inequity in the law where topics such as school-to-prison pipeline, racial disparities in health care, white saviorism, among many others, are explored. The summer program also incorporates bias and racism in mindfulness teaching of law students, including bringing in the work of Professor Rhonda Magee. The Clinic students and faculty decided to continue the student-led discussions into the fall semester. Recent topics included mass incarceration, the impact and legacy of Pauli Murray, and the removal of Indigenous Maine children from their families by the State.

Refugee and Human Rights Clinic (RHHC)

The Refugee and Human Rights Clinic created a new report entitled “Lives in Limbo: How the Boston Asylum Office Fails Asylum Seekers.”  Over the last three years, the RHRC has engaged in a multi-modal advocacy project, which includes an ongoing FOIA lawsuit in federal court as well as a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative investigation into the practices and policies at the Boston Asylum Office. The results of the investigation culminated in this final report that highlights systemic problems (including bias) associated with the adjudication of asylum applications, problems which impact not only Maine asylum seekers but asylum applicants across the country.  The report has already received considerable attention including, e.g., by Human Rights First as well as local and regional media outlets. The project recently received the national Clinical Legal Education Association’s Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Project.

Scott Bloomberg:

  • Professor Bloomberg co-authored Legalization Without Disruption: Why Congress Should Let States Restrict Interstate Commerce in Marijuana,” which has been published in Pepperdine Law Review.  Among other issues, the article warns about how federal legalization of marijuana could inadvertently disrupt the states’ efforts to promote social equity in the marijuana industry and it offers a solution to avoid that result.
Prof. Jessica Feinberg Professor Feinberg:

  • Professor Feinberg’s article  After Marriage Equality: Dual Fatherhood for Married Male Same-Sex Couples was published at 54 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1507 (2021).
  • Professor Feinberg’s article Parent Zero was published at 55 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 2271 (2022). This article focuses on the degree of meaningful choice the law provides to the person who gives birth in determining the child’s second parent.
Prof. Anthony Moffa Professor Moffa’s:

  • Professor Moffa published Environmental Indifference in the Harvard Environmental Law Review (2021). An incarcerated American underclass, disproportionately comprised of minority citizens, has been compelled to live in an unconstitutionally polluted environment. This work, using radon exposure litigation as a case study, explains how environmental harms in prisons threaten lives and violate the Constitution.
Prof. Anna Welch Professor Welch:

  • Professor Welch and Emily Gorrivan (Maine Law ’22) co-authored a law review article forthcoming in the Maine Law Review entitled It’s In Our DNA: Ethno-Nationalism and Asylum Law,” which explores the racist roots of the U.S. asylum system.
  • Professor Welch supervised the publication of Know Your Rights materials for Immigrant Youth relevant to racial profiling and ICE enforcement (Fall 2020).
Prof. Jennifer Wriggins Professor Wriggins:

  • Professor Wriggins’s article How to Include Issues of Race and Racism in the First Year Torts Course:  A Call for Reform will be published in Rutgers Race and the Law Review.  In the article, Professor Wriggins reviewed 23 torts casebooks that had been published between 2016 and 2021 to explore what their treatment of race and racism was, and also made concrete suggestions for cases and issues that torts courses should explore.
  • Professor Wriggins’s article The Color of Property and Auto Insurance: Time for Reform is forthcoming in the Florida State University Law Review.


Associate Professor Greg Bordelon Professor Bordelon was a panelist on the Hot Topics Panel on Serving Students in Serious Financial Situations at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. He discussed the disproportionate impact of bar application character and fitness questions related to finances on minority bar applicants.
Prof. Christine Davik Professor Davik was selected as one of the 28 faculty members from the University of Maine System invited to participate in the Summer Academy of Adult Learning and Teaching (“SAALT”) program sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. SAALT is a 4-day immersive faculty development conference designed to build a UMS community of forward-thinking and innovative faculty.
Prof. Jessica Feinberg


Professor Feinberg presented Parent Zero, which focuses on the degree of meaningful choice the law provides to the person who gives birth in determining the child’s second parent, at four conferences. These conferences included the Nonmarriage Roundtable at Washington University School of Law, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference, Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, and Law and Society Annual Conference.

She also presented her article, “After Marriage Equality: Dual Fatherhood for Married Male Same-Sex Couples,” which focuses on parentage rights for LGBTQ individuals, at two conferences in the summer 2020 (Law & Society and SEALS). She also served as a discussion facilitator for Pay Equity in the Legal Profession, which was sponsored by the Women’s Initiative of the Association of Corporate Counsel (Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, September 2019).

Prof. Anthony Moffa Professor Moffa presented at the Harvard Environmental Law Review’s Environmental Justice Symposium, a conversation on environmental justice with experts on community lawyering, air pollution, urban agriculture, Indian law, climate change, and more. The event featured a keynote by Dr. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice,” and a presentation of Professor Moffa’s forthcoming article “Environmental Indifference.”
Prof. Charles Norchi Professor Norchi and five University of Maine faculty (our Arctic science and law group) had a two-hour Diversity & Inclusion Training session in May. The training, which is mandated by the National Science Foundation which funds the program, guided participants in discussions around understanding race as it pertains to them, systems of privilege, and racism.
Prof. Chris Northrop

Professor Northrop was a panelist on Racial Injustice: Reimagining Policy and Public Safety. He hosted a talk by Prof. Kris Henning (Director of Georgetown Law’s JJ Clinic and Racial Justice Initiative) as part of Maine Law’s “Lunch with a Side of Revolution” series. He also served on the Development Committee and Conference Faculty for Every Student, All Day, Every Day: Legal Strategies to Keep Maine Kids in School, KIDS Legal, Disability Rights Center of Maine, Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic Education Law Conference, Augusta, Maine.


Prof. Jeff Thaler Professor Thaler worked with Maine Law’s Energy and Environmental Law Society to host: Environmental & Climate Justice: Anti-Racist Movements and Principles for Practice (October 2020). He also participated in a webinar of the American College of Environmental Lawyers on Environmental Justice.
Prof. Anna Welch Professor Welch was a panelist on the Maine Law panel on Law as a Tool of Oppression. Her focus was on immigration law. She was also a presenter at the MDI Racial Equity Working Group, “Immigration Law in these Challenging Times,” Bar Harbor, Maine.
Prof. Jennifer Wriggins Professor Wriggins presented for the Northern District of California Judicial Conference on Race, Racism and Civil Justice. She also spoke at Rutgers Law School on a panel on “Race in the Curriculum,” which was part of the widely-attended program “Race and the Law: Building an Anti-Racist Curriculum and Law School.” She also was a panelist at UMS TRANSFORMS: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Recently, she has presented at numerous law schools, including Yale Law School, Michigan Law School, Duke Law School, University of Washington School of Law, and University of Miami School of Law. Most of these presentations focused on racism and the torts curriculum.
  • Professors Bam, Bloomberg, Norchi, Thaler, and Welch participated in a joint course with the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center, the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and Maine Law. The course, titled “Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic,” touched on disparate impacts of the pandemic.
  • Professors Welch and Beer presented during a concurrent session at the New England Clinicians Conference. The title of the presentation was “Reimagining the Clinic Seminar through the Lens of Justice Lawyerings.”
Vice Dean Bam Vice Dean Bam serves as Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee of the Portland Chamber Music Festival Board (and also serves on the board of the organization).
Associate Professor Greg Bordelon Professor Bordelon assisted in drafting the joint Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) and AALS-Academic Support Programs Section statement on racial injustice.
Prof. Jessica Feinberg

Professor Feinberg served on the Planning Committee for the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network Program at the 2020 Law and Society Conference.


Prof. Anthony Moffa Professor Moffa advises “Color of Climate,” a group of Maine youth led by Lewiston City Councillor Safiya Khalid to raise awareness and promote action on climate change, with a focus on youth in marginalized communities.
Prof. Chris Northrop

Professor Northrop serves with Adjunct Professor Ward on the on the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Committee of the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory group, a gubernatorial appointment.


Prof. Peter Pitegoff Professor Pitegoff serves on the board of directors at Avesta Housing, a leading nonprofit affordable housing developer, manager, and advocate in Maine and New Hampshire. Avesta provides housing opportunities to low-income individuals and families, many who are recent immigrants and people of color, and engages in policy advocacy to expand housing options for those in need. Professor Pitegoff also serves on the board of directors of the Surf Point Foundation, an arts and artist residency foundation, based in York, Maine. The Foundation’s attention to race and equity in governance and program activity includes board policies, board composition, selecting artists for residencies, and outreach and funding to minority arts organizations.
Jill Ward, Adjunct Professor and Director of the Maine Center for Juvenile Policy & Law, serves on the Advisory Board of the Freedom & Captivity project, a state-wide public humanities initiative in partnership with Colby College and the other Maine universities, organizations and institutions to bring critical perspectives on issues of race, mass incarceration and justice.  She is Chair of the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (JJAG), a gubernatorial appointment, and serves with Professor Northrop on the JJAG Racial and Ethnic Disparities Committee. She is also board president of the League of Women Voters of Maine which works to make government more equitable, inclusive, and accessible by improving elections, protecting and engaging voters, increasing civic engagement, and reducing the influence of private money in politics.
Prof. Jennifer Wriggins Professor Wriggins consulted with staff of PBS Program, Raising our Roots, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, on legal issues involving tort litigation in Mississippi in the early twentieth century. She also consulted with staff of the HBO Program Real Sports, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, on legal and related in the NFL Concussion settlement.