From the classroom to the courtroom: Tom Letourneau ‘24 receives the Morgan Taylor Scholarship Award

During his three years at Maine Law, Tom Letourneau ran two marathons, the first in Boston, the second in Philadelphia. 

There’s a belabored metaphor in there about the parallels between a 26 mile road race and earning a J.D., but Letourneau wouldn’t necessarily draw that comparison himself. Running is something that’s just for him, a means of finding balance in his life. 

Tom Letourneau

If anything, the skills he relies on most in law school are those he picked up in her former career as a kindergarten teacher. 

“The biggest skill I took with me from my time as a teacher is how to work with people,” he said. “As a lawyer you have to accept whatever clients come your way. As a teacher, they’re our students, but it’s the same idea, especially when dealing with parents, grandparents, and extended family. You have to figure out how to interact with all of them in constructive ways.” 

Letourneau said the ability to adapt his communication style and to offer feedback in creative ways are tools he uses all the time as a law student and will take with him when he begins his legal career at the Portland-based law firm Verrill after graduation. 

Another valuable lesson Letourneau carries with him is the importance of persistence. 

“When I first started teaching kindergarten, I was not very good at it,” he reflected. “But I wanted to get better, I wanted to stick with it and I did. It took a lot of work, but I just kept at it, and I did improve.” 

When considering shifting from teaching to lawyering, Letourneau  said this experience gave him confidence, which was further fueled by the support of the faculty and his peers at Maine Law. 

During Maine Law’s 2024 Graduation, Letourneau’s own passion for serving and supporting his community was recognized. He received the Morgan Taylor Scholarship Award, an award honoring Captain Morgan Taylor ’19 who died in a tragic automobile collision in 2022, a month shy of her 32nd birthday. As a way to honor her legacy and the impact she had on the lives of so many people, Taylor’s family, friends, and Maine Law established a scholarship in her memory.

Tom Letourneau at the top of Katahdin mountain

In addition to copious support from his Maine Law community, Letourneau said he was supported by the Maine Diversity Summer Associate Program, which facilitates summer associate positions for law students with non-traditional backgrounds committed to promoting diversity and inclusion. 

“I’m a first-generation college student and part of the LGBTQ community. This program gave me the opportunity to work with Verrill after my 1L year and now I’m about to graduate and join their firm full-time,” he said. “This program provided me with an exceptional opportunity to make a difference.” 

And making a positive impact is what drew Letourneau away from teaching and into the legal field. Since 2020, Letourneau said he’d become increasingly disenchanted with American politics and the political system and felt eager to spark change. “I felt myself growing increasingly disillusioned, but instead of falling into apathy, I felt driven to work for change, for something better.”