Maine Law ranked among best schools for black students

The University of Maine School of Law ranks among the best law schools on the East Coast for black students, according to a media company that promotes the causes and contributions of African American lawyers.

On Being a Black Lawyer (OBABL) published “The Black Student’s Guide to Law Schools” this month on its website.

Maine Law was selected as one of the top five regional law schools for the East Coast region. The other schools in the East Coast top five, which were not numerically ranked, are SUNY Buffalo Law School, the University of Connecticut School of Law, City University of New York School of Law, and Rutgers School of Law – Camden.

The student’s guide listed the top schools in six geographic regions: East Coast, Mid-Atlantic, West Coast, Mountain, Midwest, and Southern. Regional law schools were differentiated from larger law schools, which were ranked in a separate list. According to the student guide: “Our best regional law schools are highly regarded, particularly in nearby states. Law graduates from these excellent institutions are well positioned to have successful legal careers without the burden of excessive loan debt.”

The OBABL rankings were based on several factors, including cost of attending the law school and the black student population. To qualify for the list, the schools must have a percentage of black law students that reflects or exceeds one-third of the state’s black population percentage.

The University of Maine School of Law is committed to diversity, and the admissions office makes a concerted effort to identify and recruit students from a wide array of backgrounds. In recent entering classes, students of color have comprised between 8 and 15 percent of the student body.

The Law School’s efforts to promote diversity are also reflected in the curriculum, where course offerings and the clinical legal education program consider the myriad impacts of law on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and socioeconomic status. Professors Malick Ghachem and Jennifer Wriggins are leading scholars in the area of race and the law. An exchange program with Howard Law School encourages the exchange of ideas and gives Maine Law students an opportunity to study for a semester at Howard, and vice versa. In 2009, Maine Law established a diversity endowment in honor of Vincent L. McKusick, former Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. For selected students, the McKusick Fellowship provides scholarship support and an internship at a prominent New England firm, Pierce Atwood.

“ The University of Maine School of Law is honored with this recognition,” according to Maine Law Dean Peter Pitegoff. “We value our diverse student culture and are deeply committed to sustaining such a supportive community.”