News

Meghan Higgins, ’12, receives Law Student Ethics Award

April 4, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – Meghan Higgins, a third year student at the University of Maine School of Law, has won a Law Student Ethics Award from the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Higgins, along with award recipients from 10 other law schools in New England, will be honored at a gala dinner on April 5 at the Union Club of Boston. She will receive a cash award of $1,000.

The Law Student Ethics Awards honor outstanding ethics in a clinical program. Higgins was a summer intern at Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic. In the fall she worked as an extern in the Child Protection division of the state Attorney General’s Office, and this spring she has participated as a student attorney in CLAC’s General Practice Clinic.

Higgins, a native of Eddington, Maine, and a graduate of Boston College, was the 2010 Linda Smith Dyer Law Fellow at Maine Women’s Policy Center. She said her work with the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic has given her the real-world experience to pursue a career as a litigator. Higgins even has a job lined up, but doesn’t want to disclose her employer until the agreement is made final.

“At the clinic, I handled cases that involved divorce, adoptions, guardianships, a federal criminal case, a state civil case, and more,” Higgins said.

While representing a client at Lewiston Court, Higgins had to deal with a tricky situation while her advisor, Prof. Chris Northrop, was in court helping another student. Higgins’ client, a woman, stole a notebook from the alleged abuser of her child. The notebook was filled with the man’s preparations for court. A court officer witnessed the theft, and stormed over to confront the client. Higgins had to advise her client not to answer the officer’s questions, while at the same time retrieving the stolen notebook and returning it to its rightful owner. Higgins then advised her client to make an agreement that would settle the case, because the notebook caper wouldn’t go over well with the judge.

That case was cited by Prof. James Burke of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, who nominated Higgins for the Law Student Ethics Award.

“We’re thrilled for Meghan. She has taken every kind of case that we could give her, and she has conducted herself with the highest standard of ethics and professionalism that one can expect from a lawyer,” said. Burke will accompany Higgins on the trip to Boston.

The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, a program of the University of Maine School of Law, is a legal services provider in which "Student Attorneys," third-year law students specially licensed by the state and federal courts, provide legal services to low-income clients.

The Student Attorneys practice under the close supervision of Maine Law faculty members and gain valuable hands-on experience while addressing a critical societal need. For additional information on the Clinic, please visit www.mainelaw.maine.edu/programs-centers/clac.html.

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: tmaxwell@usm.maine.edu
Visit us online at www.mainelaw.maine.edu.