The University of Maine School of Law awarded J.D. degrees to 76 students, as well as 12 LL.M. degrees at a commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 25th. Four of the graduates were also awarded the Law School’s Certificate in Information Privacy Law.
Joseph Cassidy, president of Southern Maine Community Center, was the keynote speaker. He discussed the varied career paths available to those with a law degree as well as the need for lawyers in Maine’s rural areas.
“For there to be justice and equity of experience, there must be legal representation in all parts of Maine,” said President Cassidy. “These are important communities and they are well worth investing in. I am proud of Maine Law for its demonstrated leadership in this area in establishing the Rural Lawyer Project. I know the students who participate in those rural fellowships will enjoy their experiences, and I trust that many of them will decide to stay and live and practice in rural Maine.”
Also at commencement, the Law School presented the 2019 L. Kinvin Wroth Award to the Hon. Lance Walker ‘00, U.S. District Judge for the District of Maine. The award, named after former Law School Dean L. Kinvin Wroth, honors a Maine Law graduate who has achieved distinction in his or her career by contributing as a leader, locally, nationally or globally, and who has helped advance his or her alma mater.
“Here’s Maine Law’s secret sauce: the school remains grounded upon the strong sense of community so vividly on display in communities throughout our state,” said Judge Walker while accepting the award. “Maine Law abides the truth that ultimately, we’re all in this together, so act accordingly.”
Pat Thompson was selected by her classmates to be the student speaker.
“So today, as we walk across this stage to receive the diplomas we worked so hard to achieve, momentarily reflect on what this opportunity affords us,” said Pat. “Think about the power we are receiving and also our tremendous responsibility to lead. Be empathetic to those around us. Start small if we have to, but start.”
Maine Law also awarded more than two dozen merit awards to the graduates. About 800 family members, friends, and invited guests attended the ceremony at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium.