Maine Law graduates 85 students in the Class of 2024

“I charge you to make sure you are demonstrating in your lives to come what is true, what is honest, to listen, to argue, to give advice, and to be pillars of the community you enter.” 

This was the advice University of Maine Chancellor Dannel Malloy offered Maine Law graduates from the Class of 2024. He spoke to the great need in society for open-minded, analytical thinkers, prepared to fight against the corruption of disinformation and perversions of legal systems. 

“Our nation and our world need more people like you,” he added. 

Malloy addressed a total of 85 Maine Law graduates and their loved ones who gathered on May 18, 2024. The ceremony was held at Merrill Auditorium downtown Portland. 

Maine Law conferred 82 J.D. and 3 LL.M. degrees this year. Additionally, 27 certificates were awarded to students in four different areas of concentration; 7 in Business and Transactional Law, 6 in Information Privacy Law, 8 in Environmental and Oceans Law, and 6 in Public Interest and Social Justice Law, the school’s newest certificate offering. Among graduates, 65% were female and 16.5% were racially diverse. 

Gregory W. Powell received the  L. Kinvin Wroth Alumni Award, an honor conferred annually at graduation to a Maine Law alumnus/a who has achieved distinction in their career and exemplifies leadership. Powell is CEO and President of Dexter Enterprises, a Portland-based wealth management firm. He also serves as Chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation. He graduated from Maine Law in 1980.

He also had some advice for the graduating class. 

“Embrace the randomness of life, and do some good while you’re at it,” he offered to the newest members of Maine’s legal community.

Peter Mills, graduate of Maine Law’s Class of 1973, delivered the day’s commencement address. He currently serves as President of the University of Maine School of Law Foundation and has been the Executive Director of the Maine Turnpike Authority since 2011. He spoke to the importance of Maine Law and its graduates as bastions against authoritarianism. 

“I think this is the most important institution in the State of Maine,” Mills reflected. Adding later, “How do we lawyers contend with authoritarianism in the practice of law? We are the saviors of civilized people. That is our mission.” 

Dean and President of Maine Law Leigh Saufley noted in her comments that the Class of 2024 encountered more challenges than most, applying to and beginning law school during a global pandemic and undergoing Maine Law’s historic move into a new location in the Old Port. 

“Class of 2024, you have inspired us all,” Saufley said. “This is a time to celebrate your determination, your resilience, and success at arriving here today.” 

Perhaps no one embodies those traits more than the commencement student speaker, Sahra Hassan, who spoke of the many hurdles she overcame in order to simply apply to law school, nevermind graduate, including LSAT tutors and advisors who told her she would not prevail.. 

“I know the power and significance of what it means for a Black, Muslim, hijabi woman and to be on this stage today. My hope is that my presence on this stage empowers someone who never thought they had a chance to go and fight for the opportunity to one day have this type of honor,” she said. 

Like many of her peers, Hassan hopes to pursue a career in public interest law, specifically in assisting refugees and asylum seekers in Maine and around the country. Throughout her time in law school, Hassan worked closely with the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, an experience she found both transformational and educational. 

Regardless of what graduates continue on to do, University of Maine Board of Trustees member Barbara Alexander said to always approach the world with curiosity and openness. 

“Go forth and take your skills and motivations with you, find new questions, new answers, and new experiences,” Alexander advised. “Learn more about yourself.”

Meet the Class of 2024: Student Profiles