University of Maine School of Law

University of Maine School of Law
246 Deering Avenue
Portland, ME 04102

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Derek Van Volkenburgh
Director of Career Services

Category Type

Formal Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator

Description of Programs

The law school's faculty has enacted a voluntary pro bono legal service standard under which every student is strongly encouraged to provide a minimum of 80 hours of pro bono legal service prior to the time of graduation.

A Pro Bono Committee comprised of faculty members, students, and the law school's Director of Career Services oversees the program. The Career Services Office publicizes pro bono opportunities available to students and provides a mechanism for students to report their pro bono hours. Students who meet the voluntary standard of 80 hours of public service are recognized during an annual luncheon and receive special mention at graduation.

Location of Programs

Career Services Office


The program is overseen by a committee comprised of faculty members, students, and the law school's Director of Career Services. Records of student reported pro bono hours are maintained in the Career Services Office.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono


Third year students who have met the 80-hour pro bono legal public service standard are honored at a special pro bono/public service luncheon held during graduation week in the spring. Honorees are presented with a certificate.

The names of those students who have met the 80-hour pro bono standard are listed in a special section of the commencement program, and a notation is added to each of their diplomas.

Maine State Bar Association Pro Bono Student Award - Awarded to a student whose law-related service to the community, without compensation or academic credit, exemplifies the legal profession's tradition of pro bono service. The recipient is selected by the Dean and Faculty after consultation with the President of the Maine State Bar Association.

Community Service

The law school's Environmental Law Society administers a number of projects, including an ongoing recycling program at the law school and an annual 5K Run which raises funds for various environmental causes.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers

Center for Law & Innovation - The law school's Center for Law and Innovation supports Maine's investments in science and technology by studying and teaching about the role of intellectual property law in economic development. Established by the state legislature in 1999, the Center provides high-level, leading edge educational opportunities in areas of intellectual property law, e-commerce, technology transfer, and other technology-related fields. We host an annual conference on legal and business issues affecting various technology sectors, and sponsor regular forums and lectures on law and innovation. Through original scholarship, and through convening scholars, the Center helps lawyers, academics and policymakers understand how patents, copyrights and trademarks affect modern commerce. Through its service unit, the Maine Patent Program, the Center offers technology transfer and patent assistance to scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs throughout Maine. We are meeting the state's growing demand for technology transfer infrastructure, providing counseling and services in biotechnology and information technology transfer. Our program also prepares law students to serve as the state's next generation of high-technology lawyers by working with our on-staff patent attorneys, technology transfer experts and clients. (

Marine Law Institute - The MLI is the research and public service component of the Ocean and Coastal Law Program and is the only law school-affiliated marine policy research program in the Northeast. MLI has dedicated its program of legal and policy research to the analysis of ocean and coastal resource issues for the express purpose of improving management practices and public understanding. (

Public Interest Clinics

Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic

General Practice Clinic

Prisoner Assistance Clinic

Domestic Violence Program

Summer Intern Program

Intellectual Property Clinic

Refugee and Human Rights Clinic


Field placements are available through our Externship program, which gives students the opportunity to gain legal experience in the community and simultaneously receive feedback on their work from seasoned professionals with guidance and support from a faculty member. An externship enables selected second- and third-year students to apply the theories and skills gained in the classroom to a real-life legal setting. Through an externship a student may deepen his or her knowledge of a particular substantive area already explored in the classroom or broaden his or her understanding of the practice of law in a setting in which he or she might not otherwise work. A concurrent seminar taught by the Program Director facilitates the students' integration of the experience and encourages the extern to become a reflective practitioner and self-directed learner.

Students are selected for the program based upon application and earn six credits for participation. Some externships require prerequisite coursework. Externs work 18 hours per week over the course of the semester. Public service placements are all generally within the state of Maine and may include such organizations as Pine Tree Legal Assistance(, Maine Attorney General's Office, U.S. Attorney, Worker's Compensation Board - Advocacy Division, and the Conservation Law Foundation (

Classes with a Public Service Component

Public Interest Journals

PI Career Support Center

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

For description see:

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

MAPIL Fellowship Program - The Maine Association for Public Interest Law (MAPIL), a student organization, raises funds through a variety of events, including an annual Public Interest Auction. The funds raised, together with funds contributed annually by the law school's Alumni Association and other sources, are used to provide stipends for selected students who engage in public interest work during the summer months through the MAPIL Fellowship Program.

The Bernstein District Court Fellows Program - This fellowship program was established by the law school through a bequest from the estate of a long-time friend of the law school, and provides stipends to selected students who work during the summer as clerks for participating judges of the Maine District Court.

The Horace Libby Fund/Public Utilities Commission Fellowship - This endowed public interest fellowship was established in honor of Horace S. Libby, who served as Chief Counsel to the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for fourteen years. The Fund supports a student summer internship at the PUC.

Legislative Fellowship Program - The Law School's Legislative Fellowship Program provides students with a stipend and an opportunity to serve as summer interns (working in a non-partisan capacity) with the legislative branch of state government. The fellowships are funded by contributions from the law school's Alumni Association and other sources.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

The law school administers summer public interest fellowships on behalf of the Maine Women's Policy Center (the Linda Smith Dyer Fellowship) and the Cumberland Bar Association (the Cumberland Bar Association Public Interest Fellowship).

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Student Public Interest Groups

Maine Association for Public Interest Law (MAPIL)

Environment Law Association

Student Animal Legal Defense Fund