Founding Dean Ed Godfrey envisioned two overlapping missions for the University of Maine School of Law. The first was to educate future lawyers and leaders, and the second was a public service mission. As ambassadors of the state’s public and only law school, Godfrey encouraged students, faculty and alumni to contribute to the well-being of the people of Maine.
That dual sense of purpose remains at the heart of Maine Law. The commitment to public service is reflected in countless ways, from longstanding programs to informal work undertaken by individual students and professors.
The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic is perhaps the most visible example. Established in 1970, the Clinic provides free legal aid to low-income individuals and families in Maine. In recent years, student attorneys have assisted more than 600 people each year.
The Pro Bono Program encourages students to provide a minimum of 80 hours of pro bono legal service, without financial compensation or academic credit, before graduation. The summer fellowship program pairs students with public interest jobs. Popular events including the Constitution Day Lecture, Judge Frank M. Coffin Lecture on Law and Public Service, and Justice For Women Lecture, also reflect the importance of public service at Maine Law.
Of the more than 3,500 graduates of Maine Law, hundreds have dedicated careers to public service, both in Maine and around the nation and world. And, central to the fabric of the state, they include four of the past seven governors of Maine, six of the past eight Attorneys General, numerous trial judges and justices of the Maine Supreme Court, the current and several former U.S. Attorneys, and the U.S. District Court Chief Judge for the District of Maine.