Maine Law students should login into the MyLaw portal for spring semester updates. Updates will also be sent via email to students.

Overview

Consistent with University policies and with the safety measures set out below, the University of Maine School of Law will be open to small groups of students for in person classes starting the week of January 25, 2021.

  • Law School classes during the spring semester may be delivered online or in a hyflex option, depending on class enrollment and teaching considerations.
  • To assure the confidence and safety of our student body, all students may elect to take any course online, except for those Clinic courses or externships that require some personal presence due to the nature of the work done by students in those courses. Students enrolled in those courses who are concerned about in person participation requirements should consult with course instructors and may transfer out of those classes.
  • Students who are attending classes in person or participating in the Clinic will be required to complete a weekly COVID-19 test. Students will receive additional information on this via email.
  • Priority for COVID-19 compliant in person classes and student gatherings will be provided to 1L students, and some of the small seminar classes may also be available in person for upper level students when they can be safely accommodated within the building.
  • Due to both the potential risks posed by travel and to our later start of the semester, we will not be holding a traditional spring break this semester. There will be a mid-week break on March 24th during the week that was originally scheduled as a spring break.
  • If, at any time, safety requires more extensive distancing or isolation, all classes may be transferred to being fully online during the semester.

 


We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions about the spring semester below. Do you have a question that is not listed? Submit your question(s) to mainelaw@maine.edu.


Frequently Asked Questions

General

Specific to the building, we have made many modifications, including but not limited to:

  • Dozens of hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the Law School building;
  • Paper towel dispensers have replaced the air dryers;
  • Directional signage limits the gathering and proximity of people in hallways and stairwells;
  • Study and carrel spacing provide appropriate physical distancing;
  • Plexiglass shields are at the library circulation desk and in reception areas;
  • Classroom capacity and building capacity continue to be limited and signage remains in place;
  • Social distancing continues to be enforced in and out of the classroom. Students may need to sign in or sign out to be present outside of designated class times.

We are following Maine CDC guidelines, state laws, and University of Maine System policies. Students who are attending classes in person or participating in the Clinic will be required to complete a weekly COVID-19 test. Students will receive additional information on this via email.

Depending on the course of the pandemic and the number of cases in Maine, we may need to adjust our protocols to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Protocols are in place for dealing with COVID-19 illness.

  • Stay at home if you feel sick. Everyone will be required to symptom monitor before coming to the Law School. You must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19.
  • Wear a face covering at all times when in the building, unless you are alone in a private office.
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol based.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and face.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with your elbow or with a tissue.
  • Avoid out of state travel if at all possible.
  • Practice physical distancing and avoid close contact with others, especially in groups or crowded places.
The Law School Building will open to students once they have been cleared through the Return to Campus Mandatory Form (emailed from the Office of Student Affairs). Responses are due by January 15th and then students will be allowed to return to the building. The Law Building is still closed to the general public.
We are guided by Maine CDC guidelines, state laws, and University of Maine System policies. Depending on the course of the virus and the number of cases in Maine, we may need to adjust our protocols to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Any member of the public, including contractors and guests, will be required to observe the same safety measures as students, staff, and faculty.

Face coverings are required. If a student needs an accommodation, they will need to contact USM’s Office of Disability Services.
As with any illness, the Law School will provide support for students who are ill with COVID-19. Student Affairs will assess whether a temporary adjustment to coursework or an approved disability accommodation is needed. Usually, conditions that are temporary (such as a cold or flu) are not considered disabilities under the ADA. A short-term illness or other impairment may qualify as a disability if it is severe or impacts an individual long-term. If students need more than a temporary adjustment, they will be referred to the Disability Services Center (DSC) at USM.

Courses

  • Most classes will be held online, with the exception of Clinics and some 1L classes that will be offered hyflex. 1L students will be in the same sections, and will receive a schedule for in person attendance (Torts) prior to the start of classes.
  • Most upper-level classes will be taught online, with a mix of asynchronous and synchronous content. When the professor for the course determines that an in person class is beneficial, that professor will work with administration to make sure the class can be offered safely. Students will not be required to attend those in person classes, but will have the option to do so.

Quality legal education will be provided to all students regardless of the format.

  • In Person or “hyflex” (meaning that some students will be in the classroom and others remote) classes will be held when appropriate to the course content, and when it can be done in a way that is consistent with health and safety protocols.
  • Our ability to do so is greatly enhanced by our Learning Management System (LMS), Brightspace. Faculty have been trained on using Brightspace and the best pedagogical practices for online teaching.
All Law School classes will begin on January 25, 2021. There will be no spring break this spring 2021 semester. Classes will end on April 27 and exams will end on May 12.
Spring exams will all be online and will be held as scheduled. The full exam schedule will be released by the end of Add/Drop week.

The courses offered through the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic (General Practice Clinic, Juvenile Justice Clinic, Refugee & Human Rights Clinic, and Prisoner Assistance Clinic) present a different set of considerations. These are experiential courses in which the primary learning takes place through the representation of actual clients with actual legal matters under the close supervision of the clinical faculty.

Students enrolled in these courses are admitted to practice as student attorneys and take on the full responsibilities of an attorney. While most of the work of students enrolled in clinical courses can and will be effectively conducted remotely this spring, there are some aspects of the clinical experience that will require the students’ regular presence on campus and may require appearing in person for court or agency hearings.

Students enrolled in clinical courses will be hearing from the clinical faculty in the very near future to learn more about the plans for the spring semester. Any questions should be directed to the clinical faculty.

Depending on the work expected of the student in the placement, certain externships will require some in person participation this spring. Rachel Reeves, director of field placements, will be in touch with students for specific information regarding placements.
Except for clinical courses and certain externships, students will be able to attend class remotely due to personal preferences or health concerns.
The faculty have voted to return to standard grading policies for the spring semester. As outlined in the Student Handbook, students may elect to take one eligible course pass/fail this spring.
All Maine Law faculty and staff will be available to meet with students, and most meetings will happen virtually over Zoom.

Maine Law requires that each student have a laptop, which should be sufficiently equipped to be used to support essential research, classroom, and communications tasks.  All law students are permitted a one-time budget allowance of up to $2500 for the purchase of a personal computer that meets the Law School’s minimum specifications through the Grad PLUS loan program. Computers can be purchased with an educational discount through USM’s educational discount. Student Edition software can also be purchased at a discount rate. Office365 license is FREE.

Internet service will be a critical need again this semester. We strongly encourage students to think about purchasing an external monitor for their laptop as well as a headset with microphone and an external webcam for easier online learning.

Community and Events

The SBA and the Office of Student Affairs continue to work together to find ways for student groups to have online programming, which may include lunchtime events, as well as small, in person events if done while following all Maine CDC guidelines. We encourage all students to be active participants in the SBA meetings and regularly scheduled Maine Law Town Halls.

Unfortunately, the Justice For Women Lecture and the MAPIL Auction will not be in person events this year. We will host them in a webinar format to ensure the safety of all participants guests per continued Maine CDC recommendations.

Maine Law is excited to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2021. We have designed multiple events in a variety of formats to meet the wishes of our graduates while maintaining pandemic-compliance. In addition to our three events, we are offering photography services to our graduates. Details have been communicated directly to the graduates. If you have any questions about graduation, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at lawstudentservices@maine.edu. Learn more about graduation plans for the Class of 2021.

Maine Law faculty and staff will provide many opportunities, both online and in person settings for interaction between students, as well as between students, faculty, and staff. Several events and gatherings will take place throughout the spring to help maintain the close-knit community for which Maine Law is famous.

Library

Students will have limited use of facilities including the Library within the Law Building, the Sullivan Gym, and dining services on the Portland campus. The Law Library is open to the Law School community only. The spring semester hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 am – 8:00 pm, Friday 7:30 am -5:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Many of the Library’s services are available online to our students. This includes access to the Library Catalog, URSUS, and remote access to many online databases, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, BloombergLaw, and HeinOnline.  Links to these and other databases can be found in the Maine Law Quick Links section of the Law School Portal.

The best way to contact our reference staff is through email at lawref@maine.edu.  Any questions about circulation of materials or Interlibrary loan can be sent to lawill@maine.edu. Contact information for library staff and other library information can be found under the Library tab on the Law School portal. Although we are currently not lending physical materials, we are happy to send articles or other pdf documents to students via email upon request.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with your needs and we will do all we can to help you.

Career Services Office (CSO)

All of the normal career planning services (individual counseling appointments, review of application materials, etc.) will be offered through Zoom meetings, email, and telephone calls. Individual counseling appointments can be scheduled directly through Symplicity. Information sessions and networking opportunities will be announced throughout the semester and held by Zoom.

The Spring 2021 OCI schedule and applications instructions are now available through Symplicity and on the Career Services homepage on the MyLaw portal. All employer interviews will be held virtually.

Student Life and Wellness

All of the usual Student Affairs functions will be offered through Zoom, email, and phone. Student Affairs will continue to offer personal support, including for students facing medical health or other emergency situations. Student Affairs will continue to host virtual events and substantive workshops throughout the spring semester.

Depending on the nature and place of the travel, students who travel outside of Maine during the semester will be asked to complete the required 10-day quarantine or complete the semester online.

The USM Health and Counseling Services will be open and treating students this spring. Services will be provided both in person and virtually. For more information access the USM website.

Risk and Personal Responsibility

The Law School consistently seeks to take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) in accordance with applicable law, regulation, and guidance provided by health authorities. These efforts may include policies and safeguards implemented by the Law School such as symptom checks, social distancing, use of facial coverings, and isolating and quarantining when required. Despite these efforts, the Law School cannot categorically guarantee that any person entering the Law School or other University of Maine System campuses or facilities will not contract COVID-19 or any other communicable disease and any such person must assess and accept the risks of illness or injury for themselves.