As the Sam L. Cohen Refugee and Human Rights Clinical Professor, Anna Welch oversees Maine Law’s Refugee and Human Rights Clinic and teaches the Immigration Law seminar. She serves as a clinical professor and supervising attorney, as a classroom teacher, and as an advisor to students who are interested in immigration law and human rights.
In 2020, Professor Welch was named the Thomas P. Downing, Jr. Award recipient by the Maine Justice Foundation. The Downing Award honors individuals in the legal aid field for their dedication to improve access to civil justice for vulnerable Mainers.
Professor Welch previously served as a fellow at Stanford Law School, where she taught and supervised students within Stanford’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. She practiced at the law firm Verrill Dana in Portland, Maine, from 2006 to 2010. She was head of the firm’s Immigration & Global Migration Group. She also served as a volunteer lawyer for the non-profit Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) in Portland. Professor Welch was instrumental in helping to expand ILAP’s roster of pro bono lawyers for asylum cases. In 2008 she earned ILAP’s “Attorney of the Year” honor. During her time at Verrill Dana, Professor Welch taught immigration law at Maine Law, as an adjunct professor. She also helped supervise student attorneys at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic. In 2010, Professor Welch spent time in Nairobi, Kenya, where she served as a refugee protection officer at RefugePoint (formerly Mapendo International).
A Maine native, Professor Welch graduated with honors and highest distinction from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she studied journalism and Spanish. She then went to the Washington College of Law at American University. She graduated summa cum laude, order of the coif, and then went to Peru for a year, beginning in August of 2005, as a Fulbright Scholar. In Lima, Professor Welch worked with a non-profit organization to establish a public water management system in Chosica, one of the shantytowns known in the city as “pueblos jovenes.”