The Maine Board of Bar Examiners awarded the 2014 Kenneth R. Clegg Award for Excellence to Kevin Decker, who graduated from Maine Law in May 2014. This Award is presented each year to the person who obtains the highest combined score on the Maine Bar Examination in his or her first attempt at passing a bar exam.

Kevin Decker currently serves as judicial clerk for Judge William J. Kayatta, Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Kevin graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in philosophy, and then worked for several years in Boston at an organization that supports civil legal aid programs. At Maine Law, he was Articles Editor for the Maine Law Review, and served as a Teaching Assistant for the Legislation & Administration class and the Criminal Law class. He externed at the United States Attorney’s Office in Portland and, during the summer after his 2L year, was a summer associate at Bernstein Shur in Portland.

The Award honors the memory of Kenneth R. Clegg, a member of the Maine Board of Bar Examiners from 1989 to 2002 and its first Treasurer. Ken was a clerk for Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court and a champion of fairness in the courtroom. He also was a poet, novelist, cyclist, cellist, gourmet cook, and world traveler. The Board trusts that recipients of this Award will be inspired to follow Kenneth Clegg’s example as a positive force for the profession and a person who broadly enriches life.

On December 2, the Women’s Law Association of the University of Maine School of Law will recognize Katherine Knox of Bernstein Shur as the 2014 Outstanding Alumna Award Recipient.

Knox graduated from Maine Law in 2004. She is a shareholder at Bernstein Shur focusing her practice on lobbying, campaign compliance and election law. Knox is General Counsel for the Maine Democratic Party, an adjunct professor at Maine Law, and a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers.

One of Knox’s most noteworthy accomplishments is her work with EqualityMaine to draft and pass historic legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine. This effort marked the first time in U.S. history that such legislation passed in both the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by the sitting governor.

Since the establishment of the Women’s Law Association at Maine Law, they have consistently recognized the achievements of female attorneys, and the impacts of gender on the profession of law. The WLA encourages networking among women at the law school and the women practicing in all facets of the legal community.

Every fall, the WLA receives nominations from students, faculty and staff and selects one alumna for her outstanding contributions to the legal community. A reception is then held to honor the alumna award recipient, as well as to raise money for the WLA fellowship. The fellowship is awarded every spring to a Maine Law student who chooses to spend his or her summer working in furtherance of women’s rights in an unpaid capacity.

This year, the WLA has elected Katherine Knox to be the 2014 outstanding alumna award recipient. Kate will be honored at a reception on December 2, 2014 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm.

For more details about this event, please contact:

The Maine Law Review‘s 2014 Annual Symposium, “Connecting Law and Legislature: The Legacy of Ed Muskie,” took place on Saturday, November 15, 2014 in Portland, Maine. It was part of a day-long “Centennial Celebration” of Edmund S. Muskie on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The series of events was co-sponsored by the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine School of Law, Southern Maine Community College, and the Muskie Archives at Bates College.

The Maine Law Review Symposium brought together former colleagues of Ed Muskie with contemporary scholars and leaders of the bench and bar. They discussed the enormous impact of Muskie’s public service and its continued relevance today. The symposium consisted of three panel discussions throughout the morning:

  1. An Environmental Law Panel, with Professor Richard Lazarus, Harvard Law School; Leon Billings, former Muskie Chief of Staff; and Professor Joel Goldstein (moderator), St. Louis University School of Law.
  2. A Model Cities and Urban Development Panel, with Professor Kellen Zale, University of Houston Law Center; Don Nicoll, former Muskie Executive Assistant; and Dean Peter Pitegoff (moderator), University of Maine School of Law.
  3. An Access to Justice Panel, with Justice Howard Dana, Maine Supreme Court (retired); Justice Andrew Mead, Maine Supreme Court; and Bob Hirshon (moderator), former President of the American Bar Association.

The Maine Law Review will publish articles and essays arising from the Symposium discussions.

Keynote speakers in the afternoon session were former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and PBS political analyst Mark Shields, both of whom worked closely with Senator Muskie years ago.

Muskie’s public service was wide-ranging. He served in the Maine legislature from 1946 to 1954, as Governor of Maine from 1955 to 1959, as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1980, and as U.S. Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1980 to 1981.

Six students and recent graduates of the University of Maine School of Law were honored this fall by the state’s Katahdin Law Student Recognition Program, for providing free legal assistance to Mainers who cannot afford an attorney.

Kimberly Watson (’14), Saad Kahn (’14), Ashley Janotta (14), Taylor Sampson (’15), Scott Helmke (15), and Sarah Lemay (’16) were recognized for completing more than 50 pro bono hours, providing legal services to the poor. The pro bono hours were above and beyond any other pro bono work the students performed for law school credit, or during internships.

The Katahdin Law Student Recognition Program is an offshoot of the Katahdin Counsel Recognition Program, which is overseen by the state Supreme Judicial Court, and acknowledges Maine lawyers who complete more than 50 pro bono hours in a year. The purpose of the program is twofold: to establish a process for recognizing the pro bono work of Maine lawyers; and to encourage more lawyers to provide such services for low-income residents. The reporting year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Two University of Maine School of Law students, Amber Attalla ’16 and Laura Shaw ‘15, in coordination with Maine Law’s Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, will volunteer at The Artesia Center, an immigration detention center in New Mexico for one week this November. They will provide legal assistance to unaccompanied immigrant children and women. Amber and Laura will be the first legal representatives from Maine to travel to The Artesia Center in the wake of a humanitarian crisis on the U.S. border. Follow Laura and Amber’s blog beginning on November 15 where they will be documenting their experiences.

Since October 2013, more than 65,000 unaccompanied children and tens of thousands more Central Americans traveling as families have sought refuge at the U.S. southern border. Most of these individuals fled their home countries due to conditions of extreme violence and poverty. Unprepared for what has been characterized as a surge of immigration, the United States federal government started The Artesia Center, a makeshift immigration detention center located in a remote, desolate area of New Mexico. The Artesia Center, located four hours from the closest major city, currently houses over 600 Central American women and children.

Representatives from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) along with other immigration advocacy organizations have stated that “severe due process violations” are taking place at The Artesia Center. Specifically, women and children fleeing their home countries out of fear of persecution are being denied access to asylum and other protections without any meaningful opportunity to contact a lawyer. Many children, even toddlers, are forced to defend their cases in immigration court without the help of legal counsel.

In response, lawyers and law students from around the country are traveling to Artesia volunteering their time to provide urgent legal assistance to the women and children detained there, working to ensure that their due process rights are met. While in Artesia, Amber and Laura will undergo specialized training and assist immigration attorneys from across the country who are donating their time and expertise in Artesia.

For more information and to provide financial support for this exciting project, please see our project summary.

Maine Law Dean Peter Pitegoff and Dan Boxer, Adjunct Professor of Governance and Ethics at the Law School, published an op ed feature in the Maine Sunday Telegram (Oct. 19, 2014) on “a wake-up call for nonprofit boards.”

The article describes recent revelations of embezzlement of nearly four million dollars of donor contributions to Camden’s United Mid-Coast Charities and draws corporate governance lessons from this debacle. It recalls the Law School’s 5th Annual Governance and Ethics Symposium last year, which was introduced with the following prescient statement: “From embezzlement by small town Little League treasurers to fraud and corruption within some of its largest institutions, America has witnessed stunning breaches of trust in the past several years.”

“Are we learning yet from breaches of trust?” asked Pitegoff and Boxer. “Sadly, the answer appears to be a resounding no! ” The article presents guidelines to nonprofit corporations and their boards of directors for responsible governance practices to prevent abuses and to operate for the public good.

Read the complete article on the Portland Press Herald’s website.

Rachel White ’14

“After law school, I hope to contribute in a meaningful and measurable way to the legal and business communities in Maine. The exact shape and nature of that work is still not defined at the moment—but the beauty of a Maine Law education is exposure to such a broad spectrum of legal practice specialties.”

Rachel White grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and went to Stanford University for her undergraduate and Master’s degrees. She worked on environmental regulation & policy at the US Environmental Protection Agency for almost 4 years. She subsequently worked at Google, where, for nearly five years, she consulted with Fortune 500 financial services clients on their digital advertising strategies. Rachel is currently clerking for Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., (Maine Law ’76), Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.


Annmarie Levins (Maine Law ’83) is Associate General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation, where she manages the legal support for Microsoft’s U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries. Annmarie clerked for Judge James L. Oakes (U.S. Court of Appeals,2nd Circuit) and Justice Lewis F. Powell (U.S. Supreme Court), was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York and Seattle, taught at the University of Washington Law School, and joined Microsoft in 1998. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Brown University and earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Princeton University.

You are a 1983 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. What impact did Maine Law have in your life and career?

Maine Law prepared me well to practice law in very different roles, from clerking to being a prosecutor to being an in-house lawyer. The faculty taught us to be rigorous and practical, and to keep our eyes on the big picture.

How did you find your way to becoming Associate General Counsel at Microsoft?

After teaching at the University of Washington for a few semesters, I really missed the excitement of practicing law. I had been a federal prosecutor in New York, and decided to go back to that work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. From there, Microsoft recruited me to help set up an international anti-counterfeiting enforcement program. The criminal organizations involved in counterfeiting weren’t all that different from the drug trafficking organizations I prosecuted in New York.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have good friends and colleagues all over the world, and they are some of the smartest people I’ve met anywhere. The issues we deal with change constantly, and we need to know as much about business, technology, and the competitive landscape as we do about legal issues. There is never a dull moment.

What do you know now that you wish you knew back as a law student?

The hardest issues you deal with in your career are probably not going to involve legal questions, but will involve understanding what clients or opponents really want, what their bottom line motivations really are, how to come to a resolution that is fair and satisfactory enough for all sides. Asking questions to understand the human dynamics is often the key to resolving what comes to you as a legal problem.

What advice do you have for prospective law students today?

Be open to new opportunities. If someone had told me when I was in law school that I would end up working for a multinational corporation and loving it, I would have laughed. It was the farthest thing from my mind.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

From a professional perspective, Thurgood Marshall is my hero. He was a brilliant lawyer and an even more brilliant legal and political strategist.

Graduating class: 2012

Hometown: Warwick, N.Y.

Employer: Norman, Hanson & DeTroy

John Nathans, the man who was cut out to be a big league catcher, is now making a name for himself as a lawyer in Portland, Maine.

A 2012 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, Nathans was hired in September 2013 by the law firm of Norman, Hanson & DeTroy. Nathans recently concluded a one-year judicial clerkship with the Maine Superior Court.

“I like trial work in particular because it is very much like pro sports, it helps fulfill that competitive interest,” Nathans said. “You have to think on your feet and develop complex strategies in an adversarial environment. You get knocked down and you have to get back up.”

For most of his life, it was all about the pop of the baseball in the leather mitt. The New York native was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in 2001, and spent a few seasons with the Double-A minor league affiliate, the Portland Sea Dogs. Then came Aug. 14, 2007, the day that forced Nathans to find a different dream.

Nathans was catching in an Atlantic League game in Connecticut when the batter, former Red Sox player Jose Offerman, charged the pitching mound, wielding his bat. Nathans raced to the mound to protect his pitcher, Matt Beech. Photos of the incident show Nathans diving toward Offerman and then tackling him, all while Offerman continued to swing the bat. One of those swings caught Nathans in the head. After the melee, Nathans was taken away on a stretcher, suffering from what doctors initially thought was a concussion, but turned out to be a more serious injury.

For months afterward, Nathans thought he would get better and get back to baseball. But his symptoms persisted. He was vomiting six or seven times a day. He would sit for hours in dark rooms, just to avoid any outside stimuli. He was dizzy all the time. Nathans slowly came to grips with the reality that his playing days were over.

“I always thought of myself as a big league catcher, I always felt I had that potential. All of a sudden that was taken away from me, and not on my terms,” he said. “It became clear that I needed to make a transition to another career.”

Nathans’ father is a lawyer. Also, his wife, Kate Lawrence of Gorham, is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law and was a law student extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland. Nathans applied for a job there, and in 2008 he was hired as a paralegal. The next fall he started as a student at Maine Law. He met some of his best friends early on, including fellow law student Matt Libby, who used to play minor league hockey for the Portland Pirates.

During his time at Maine Law, Nathans worked as a law clerk and extern in the appellate division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as a student attorney at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, and was a leader of the Maine Law Moot Court Team.

Isabel Mullin



Name: Isabel Mullin
Class of 2016

Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Undergrad: Denison University, Granville, Ohio
Majors/Minors: Major in economics; Minor in political science

What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?

I attended Denison University from 2006 through 2010. During my undergraduate years I had the opportunity to intern in Congresswoman Pingree’s office in Portland, Maine, for a summer. I also lived in Santa Elena, Venezuela for a summer volunteering with an organization that provided therapeutic horseback riding lessons.


Following graduation, I began working as a financial representative with Fidelity Investments.  I worked at Fidelity for just under two years.  I eventually realized I did not want a career in the finance industry, and I moved back to Maine where I resumed work in Congresswoman Pingree’s congressional office as a Staff Assistant and as the Campaign and Finance Assistant for her 2012 reelection campaign.  Following the election, I transitioned to a legislative aide position with the State Senate Democratic Office in Augusta where I worked for four state senators helping with constituent service and legislative work.


 Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?

I chose the University of Maine School of Law for a two main reasons: first, once I moved back to Maine I didn’t want to leave again.  I am convinced that this is one of the most amazing places on earth, with beaches, ski mountains, and extremely kind people with an incredible work ethic.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful I stayed here. 

The second reason I chose Maine Law is that I loved the culture of this school.  I was told that it had a supportive environment with rigorous academics, and that couldn’t be more true.  My classmates are some of the most incredible people, and will bend over backwards to help one another out. 

What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law Student?

Again, I would have to reiterate the amazing culture at Maine Law.  My classmates consistently help each other out and accessing anyone (students, professors, staff) at the school is as easy as knocking on their door or sending an email.  When I have a question, the staff, professors, and administration go out of their way to help answer it.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?

On campus, I participate in the Women’s Law Association (WLA) and the Maine Association for Public Interest Law (MAPIL).  I am also serving as a 1L Representative to the Student Bar Association (SBA) where I serve on the Events Committee and the Services Committee.        

In my time off campus, I volunteer on a number of political campaigns and I am a member of the current Emerge Maine class, an organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office.

Portland has a reputation for its vast array of food options. Do you have any favorite restaurants or grocery stores?

I love Rosemont Market and Bakery, which has a few locations throughout Portland and is known for its local produce and foods.  It is too hard to identify my favorite restaurant because it seems like a new establishment opens every day.  The options are endless and incredible.  Let’s just say I never go hungry.

What is your favorite thing to do in Portland?

My favorite thing to do in Portland is look up at the sky at night.  Portland is a small city, so the moon and stars on a clear night are absolutely breathtaking.

For someone who is considering attending Maine Law, how would you describe the student community here?

I would describe the student community as just that, a community.  Every student has a unique background and experience that they bring to Maine Law.  We don’t only spend our days in the classroom together, but students are constantly organizing events and gatherings that are open to the entire student body. 

Students also invite one another to their non-Maine Law events.  For example, we have a rugby player in our class that invites everyone to his games, we had a student organize a dinner and movie night, and we have classmates who lend their cars so that other students can go vote.  This is just a small picture of the student community at Maine Law.  I am still in my first semester, but I already know that my classmates will not only be my future colleagues, but also some lifelong friends.

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