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Professor Lois R. Lupica was recently awarded a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Social, Behavioral and Economic Division, to conduct her Consumer Financial Distress Research Study.

The NSF application was part of a Collaborative Research Proposal, submitted by Professor Lupica, Professor Jim Greiner of Harvard Law School and Professor Dalié Jiménez of University of Connecticut Law School. The Study has also received funding commitments from the American Bankruptcy Institute Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund, and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Endowment for Education.

The three Principal Investigators and students from all three law schools have been working on the Study for the past two and a half years. The field operation of the Pilot Study is expected to launch in early 2015.

University of Maine School of Law Professor Don Zillman was recently featured as an expert on the “Best and Worst for Military Retirees,” a project of www.wallethub.com.

In the analysis, Maine ranked 10th overall (second for quality of life, 13th for health care services, and 44th for economic environment). Zillman is quoted as encouraging retired veterans to get out amongst non-veteran communities and to discuss the real life stories of the U.S. armed forces with a variety of civilian organizations.

Professor Zillman has 16 years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps. He also has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Professor Zillman previously served as Dean of the University of Maine School of Law, from 1991 to 1998, and more recently as President of the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He specializes in energy law and military law and has written over 50 law review articles and been author or editor on 12 books in those areas. At Maine Law, he also has also taught Property, Constitutional Law, Torts, and Legal Writing.

He was the lead editor and a contributing author to The Law of Energy Underground: Understanding New Developments in Subsurface Production, Transmission and Storage. The book was published this spring by Oxford University Press, the world’s leading academic publisher. It examines the laws and environmental impacts related to ‘fracking’ for oil and gas, storage of nuclear waste, and other pressing energy questions of our time.

David Morse, a native of Portland and Westbrook, and a 2010 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, has been in solo practice for six months at Morse Law in Westbrook. Morse focuses on family law, bankruptcy, debtor rights, and landlord tenant law.

Here’s a press release that he passed along:

Morse Law, LLC. established in 2013 has opened on Main Street in Westbrook. David C. Morse, Esq. the sole practitioner is a Westbrook High School graduate who attended Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and received his law degree from the University Of Maine School Of Law.

After law school David, spent several years practicing with Alaska Legal Services Corporation in Fairbanks, Alaska. At Alaska Legal Services Corporation David represented low income clients in a wide array of subject areas such as family law, domestic violence, landlord-tenant, social security, and consumer rights.

“Practicing law in America’s last frontier, for a non-profit legal aid agency, was a unique and fulfilling opportunity which allowed me to gain a great deal of experience in a huge variety of legal subject areas. The experience of Alaska’s natural beauty and wildlife was life changing for me.” David says, “however, Maine is in my blood and as a product of Westbrook’s schools and community, I could think of no better place to lay down roots and start a business.”

David returned to Maine in April 2013 and practiced as a civil rights attorney for the Disability Rights Center of Maine’s Developmental Services Advocacy program. At the Disability Rights Center David traveled extensively throughout central and mid-coast Maine protecting and advocating for the rights of Maine citizens with Developmental Disabilities. Morse Law, LLC. is a general civil practice focusing on family law, bankruptcy, debtor rights, and landlord tenant law. David’s website is www.davidmorselaw.com and he can be reached at (207) 854 – 2828.

In case you missed the article, the Bangor Daily News published a story recently about Alex Willette, a 2014 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, who also happens to be a highly successful lawmaker.

Reporter Mario Moretto of the BDN wrote about Willette’s decision to not seek re-election this fall as a state representative for House District 7, which includes more than 10 municipalities and several unorganized townships in northwestern Aroostook County. Willette is a native of Mapleton.

Here’s an excerpt, or you can read the full story.

Alex Willette, the House Republicans’ second-in-command and youngest-ever member of state legislative leadership, will not seek re-election this November.

Willette, 25, of Mapleton said Friday he’s leaving the Legislature to focus on his blossoming career as a lawyer. He’ll graduate from the Maine School of Law on May 17.

“I plan on staying involved with the party but maybe taking a few years off on the elected side of things,” Willette said in an interview Friday. “I really loved my time with the Legislature, and I’m extremely thankful and grateful for the opportunity to serve … but starting a law practice in Aroostook County when you have to be in Augusta six months out of the year did not seem feasible. There’s just not enough time in the day.”

Professor Jennifer Wriggins of the University of Maine School of Law wrote a timely op-ed that was recently published by Talking Points Memo on the national stage, and the Bangor Daily News here in Maine.

Professor Wriggins tackles the controversial issue of subsidized flood insurance, and how Congress has encouraged America to build homes where they probably shouldn’t be built, often at the expense of taxpayers when flooding hits.

Read the excerpt below, and click here to read the entire piece.

It seems like everyday, new research is confirming that the impacts of climate change — heat waves, heavy rains, and flooding – are already being felt in America and around the world, and things stand to get worse. Just this week, TPM reported on new scientific papers concluding that large parts of the enormous West Antarctica ice sheet are melting and falling into the sea, and could lead to eventual rise in global sea levels of 10 feet or more.

Surprisingly, though, Congress – where many House Republicans reject the notion that anthropogenic climate change is happening at all – came together in March to do something. Did they take action to slow climate change or pass new policies to encourage building further away from beaches and floodplains? No. They agreed to roll back previous reforms and reinstate generous federal insurance subsidies for seaside homes.

Adam Anderson, a May 2014 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, has been named the winner of the James Baker Hughes Writing Competition, sponsored by the Houston Journal of International Law.

Anderson won for a paper he wrote for Professor Dave Cluchey’s International Finance Course. The paper, titled “Let the Eurozone be Competent: The German Federal Constitutional Court Continues to Bless the EU,” will be published in the Houston Journal of International Law. The competition included submissions from law students nationwide.

Jim Burke, a clinical professor at the University of Maine School of Law, was interviewed recently by the Associated Press in Maine. Burke’s comments appeared in an article about a Bangor trial in which two men from Massachusetts and Rhode Island were accused of a triple murder.

At the time of the interview, jurors in the trial had deliberated for more than four full days, without reaching a verdict on the fate of Randall Daluz and Nicholas Sexton. Professor Burke told the AP that he could not recall a jury ever deliberating for a longer time period in recent state history.

Click here to be redirected to the story.

March 19, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine – Emerging from more than three decades of war, oppression and isolation, the women of Afghanistan are speaking up and fighting for their rights and future, Dr. Sima Samar said during her visit to Maine this week.

But they need the support of the international community to prevent them from being forgotten again, said Dr. Samar, a prominent champion of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

“We have achieved a lot in the past 13 years, with a lot of sacrifice by the people of Afghanistan and the international community,” Dr. Samar said, referring to the period since U.S. and allied troops arrived in the country. She said more than 3 million Afghan girls are now in school, and women make up 25 percent of the Afghan Parliament, but the movement “still has a long way to go.”

Dr. Samar visited Maine on March 17-19, 2014, as the lecturer for the Justice for Women Lecture Series, hosted by the University of Maine School of Law. She participated in a number of community events, as well as delivering the lecture on the evening of March 18, to a diverse and enthusiastic crowd of more than 500 people at the Abromson Community Education Center in Portland.

Since 2004, Dr. Samar has served as chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. She is also founder of the Shuhada Organization, dedicated to the welfare and progress of Afghan citizens, with a primary focus on the empowerment of women and children. The organization operates 55 schools and 15 clinics and hospitals. Dr. Samar served in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan and established the first-ever Ministry of Women’s Affairs. She is a recipient of the Profile of Courage Award, and is one of the central subjects of the 2004 documentary, Daughters of Afghanistan.

“We lost a lot in Afghanistan,” in the past 35 years, said Dr. Samar, whose own husband was kidnapped and killed in 1979 because of his resistance against Soviet rule. “We lost our educated people. When I go anywhere, including Bangladesh and the Philippines, I see Afghans.”

The Taliban regime, which rose to power in the 1990s, “closed everything down for women,” Dr. Samar said. Women were routinely beaten in public, and local leaders ordered families to keep their windows covered, so women would not be seen. This past decade has witnessed a gradual restoration of women’s rights, particularly in education. There are shelters in the cities, to safeguard abused women and children. A new law passed in 2009 criminalized acts of violence against women, yet it is rarely implemented.

That momentum remains fragile, however. As the United States continues to draw down its military presence, Dr. Samar has urged American and international leaders to remain invested in Afghanistan, while the nascent government, Army and police forces earn the trust of the public. People in her country do not want to be ruled by outsiders, she said, but they also do not want to be isolated, opening the door to another civil war, or the resurgence of the Taliban.

During her visit to Maine, Dr. Samar spoke at Deering High School to an assembly of students from all three of the city’s high schools. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan presented her with a key to the city. She spoke to other local high school students, college students and community members at CIEE in Portland. At the Law School, Dr. Samar was the featured speaker at a lunchtime panel titled “Afghanistan Futures: Local and Global.”

The University of Maine School of Law is committed to promoting social justice in Maine and around the world. The Law School established the Justice for Women Lecture series in 2010 with leadership and support from attorney and civic leader Catherine Lee. The Lecture Series is supported in part by the generosity of community partners, including CIEE, and other donors.

Previous lecturers were the Hon. Unity Dow (2012), the first woman to serve as a judge on Botswana’s High Court; and Leymah Gbowee (2013), an activist and women’s rights advocate who won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end civil war in Liberia.

Learn more at “Justice For Women Lecture Series” on Facebook. For information about supporting the series, please email the law school at mainelaw@maine.edu.

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Dr. Sima Samar, a renowned human rights and women’s rights advocate from Afghanistan, will visit Portland on March 17-19, as part of the Justice for Women Lecture Series hosted by the University of Maine School of Law.

Dr. Samar will participate in a number of community events to discuss her work in Afghanistan and strategies to promote justice for women and girls around the world.

Since 2004, Dr. Samar has served as chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. She is also founder of the Shuhada Organization, dedicated to the welfare and progress of Afghan citizens, with a primary focus on the empowerment of women and children. The organization operates dozens of schools and 15 clinics and hospitals. Dr. Samar served in the Interim Administration of Afghanistan and established the first-ever Ministry of Women’s Affairs. She is a recipient of the Profile of Courage Award, and is one of the central subjects of the 2004 documentary, Daughters of Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, March 18, Dr. Samar will speak at Deering High School to an assembly of students from all three of the city’s high schools. Portland Mayor Michael Brennan will present Dr. Samar with a key to the city at 9:30 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., Dr. Samar will give a presentation to other local high school students, college students and community members at CIEE in Portland.

Also on March 18, Dr. Samar will deliver the University of Maine School of Law’s third annual Justice for Women Lecture, titled “Women’s Rights in Afghanistan.” The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Abromson Community Education Center, 88 Bedford St. With more than 500 people registered to attend, the event is filled to capacity. However, there is limited space in an overflow room, where the lecture will be live-streamed. Those interested in reserving a seat should contact the Dean’s Office at mainelaw@maine.edu, or 207-780-4344.

On Wednesday, March 19, the University of Maine School of Law will host a lunchtime panel at 12:10 p.m. titled “Afghanistan Futures: Local and Global.” Panelists will include Dr. Samar; Bill Nemitz, columnist for the Portland Press Herald, who recently traveled to Afghanistan on assignment; and Tom Barfield, a professor of anthropology at Boston University. The discussion will be moderated by Maine Law Professor Charles Norchi, who has worked extensively in Afghan matters. The event will be in the Moot Court Room at the Law School, 246 Deering Ave, in Portland.

The University of Maine School of Law is committed to promoting social justice in Maine and around the world. The Law School established the Justice for Women Lecture series in 2010 with leadership and support from attorney and civic leader Catherine Lee. The Lecture Series is supported in part by the generosity of community partners, including CIEE, and other donors.

Previous lecturers were the Hon. Unity Dow (2012), the first woman to serve as a judge on Botswana’s High Court; and Leymah Gbowee (2013), an activist and women’s rights advocate who won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end civil war in Liberia.

Learn more at “Justice For Women Lecture Series” on Facebook. For information about supporting the series, please email the law school at mainelaw@maine.edu.

Stan Tupper has been elected by his classmates to speak for the 2014 graduating class at commencement ceremonies for the University of Maine School of Law. Commencement will be held Sat., May 17.

The election process was overseen by the Graduation Committee at Maine Law. Tupper earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine. He is currently studying maritime and admiralty law in Hong Kong, through an exchange program with the Hong Kong Maritime and Transportation Law Centre.

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