Professor Charles Norchi has been named the Benjamin Thompson Professor of Law. The professorship has its origins in a gift made to the Law School in 1986 by Benjamin Thompson, who was the youngest in a line of distinguished maritime lawyers.
The first Benjamin Thompson began his practice in Portland’s Old Port in 1881 at a time when Portland was an international maritime center. He became known throughout the world for his expertise in both the law and lore of the sea. In 1919, Nathan Thompson assumed his father’s practice and over the next 40 years was involved in every major admiralty case in Maine waters. The younger Benjamin Thompson entered practice with his father in 1948 and established his own reputation as an eminent admiralty lawyer. He was a senior partner in the firm of Thompson, McNaboe, and Ashley, which was located in the same building where his grandfather and father had practiced.
Professor Norchi teaches and writes in the fields of Law of the Sea, International Law, Maritime Law, and International Human Rights. At Maine Law, he directs the Center for Oceans & Coastal Law and the Graduate Law Programs. He was recently awarded the Arctic Fulbright to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland. In this position, he will engage in Arctic maritime research and teach at the Universities of Iceland and Akureyri. Professor Norchi holds an A.B. from Harvard College, a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University Law School, and an LL.M. and a J.S.D. from Yale Law School.
“The Thompsons, for whom this professorship is named, were several generations of Maine lawyers respected by the admiralty bar and maritime industry in the United States and throughout the world,” said Professor Norchi. “The Thompson Professorship recognizes the marine and coastal legacy of the University of Maine School of Law, its commitment to the law of the sea, and the resurgence of Maine maritime international trade.”