Alumni and friends of the University of Maine School of Law gathered on the evening of December 2, 2016 to honor Janet Mills ‘76 and Angela Arey ’05. The Hon. Janet Mills was awarded the 2016 Maine Law Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award. Professor Angela Arey was awarded the 2016 Women’s Law Association Annual Alumna Award. The inaugural Maine Law Annual Community Awards Dinner was held at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine.
Deirdre Smith ‘94, Director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, and Frank H. Bishop ’07, Maine Law Alumni Association President, kicked off the evening with welcoming remarks. Linda Pistner, Chief Deputy Attorney General, introduced the first award recipient, the Hon. Janet Mills.
“Janet Mills has seen opportunities to do things differently, to overcome or ignore barriers, to provide resources for women, and to seize those moments when change can happen,” said Pistner.
Janet Mills is the Attorney General of Maine and the first woman to hold that office. During her remarks she reflected on her many years as an attorney and on her time as a student at the University of Maine School of Law.
“I hope you agree with me, that the more we practice law, the funner it gets,” said Mills. “It’s not just about winning a good argument; it’s not just appearing in front of a jury once in a while; it’s not just parading briefs and arguments before an appellate court. It’s using your imagination, establishing a little bit of cred in and out of court, using people skills, making sure that what you do and what you say makes other people believe in the rule of law.”
The next award recipient, Professor Angela Arey (“Angie”) was introduced by Professor Emerita Nancy Wanderer.
“I first met Angie in 2002 when she was a student in my legal writing class,” said Wanderer. “I knew right away that Angie was someone special.”
Angela Arey is the Director of the Legal Writing Program at Maine Law. She focused her remarks on her experience with Maine Law’s new DiscoverLaw.org PreLaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program. This summer immersion program is designed primarily for students of color, immigrants, low-income students, and students from rural areas, reflecting the ultimate goal of bringing more diversity to the legal profession in Maine and around the country.
“I am so proud to be part of this Law School. It helps empower people and give them a voice,” said Professor Arey. “Although I have been singled out to receive this award, it really is a tribute to the extraordinary community of which I am just a small part.”
The evening concluded with closing remarks presented by Dean Danielle Conway. During her remarks, Dean Conway unveiled the new video for the PLUS Program. The video featured some of the students from the inaugural summer program which was held from May 30 – June 24, 2016. Students from rural Maine and those originally from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, Kenya, and the United Kingdom were among the first participants.