Name: Kevin Decker
Class of 2014
Hometown: Shapleigh, ME (live in Portland now)
Undergrad: Dartmouth College, class of 2008
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?
There are many factors that led me here, and it was a complicated decision. But I’ll try to boil it down to a few key reasons: quality, location, and money. I spoke with quite a few current Maine Law students and recent graduates who had great things to say about their law school experience. As I became more familiar with Maine Law, the more I realized that I could get a high quality education from an excellent faculty in a close-knit community (which has been the case). I’m originally from Maine, and although I had left the state for school and to work in Boston for a few years, I knew I wanted to return to Maine and start my legal career in Portland. I knew going to Maine Law would provide me the best access to Maine’s legal community, and I haven’t been disappointed on that point. And, finally, Maine Law by far made the most sense financially.
What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law student?
I think a key element to staying sane as a law student is to retain a “real life” outside of school. I try leaving time open for friends and family, as well as things like running and watching football games. “Real life” becomes especially important during finals, to deal with the persistent and exhausting feeling that there is always something you should be doing to prepare for exams.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?
I’m on the Maine Law Review. That means that I spent a lot of time in the beginning of the semester cite-checking articles for the upcoming issue. Right now, I’m working on writing a comment for the law review about federalism and energy transmission. Also, as part of the Academic Support Program, I am a teaching assistant for a first-year course called “Legislation & Administration,” which involves holding weekly group study sessions and office hours.
Portland has a reputation for its vast array of food options. Do you have any favorite restaurants or grocery stores?
That’s the toughest question you’ve asked me. If I was absolutely forced to pick a favorite restaurant, I’d have to say Local 188, but I’ve had many great dining experiences in Portland at other restaurants. If I’m looking for something less formal, I like to go to Silly’s or Duckfact, or grab a slab from Micucci’s or a slice at Otto. And I start everyday with coffee from Coffee by Design.
What are some things that have surprised you about living in Portland?
I’m surprised by the fact that I’ve lived here for almost two and a half years, and even though Portland is a relatively small city, there are still many parts of it that I haven’t explored. I’m also always surprised at the number of people who come out for the Art Walk every first Friday of the month, even in the winter. And I was pleasantly surprised when, this past summer, the city was able to attract the attention of Mumford & Sons, who performed on the Eastern Prom overlooking Casco Bay, a few hundred yards from my apartment – that was pretty amazing.
For someone who is considering attending Maine Law, how would you describe the student community here?
I’d describe the students here as very supportive. The community is small as far as law schools go, which means both that you have a chance to get to know your classmates and that students tend to cooperate and help each other rather than engage in unhealthy competition.