Maine Law Alumni Profiles
Marta Hurgin, (Maine Law ’13) is a native of Windham, Maine. For her first job after Maine Law, Marta accepted a one-year position funded by Americorps and Legal Aid of Arkansas, helping clients within the state drug court program, and with civil legal issues such as housing, employment and parental rights. She will also represent asylum seekers and other immigrants at the U.S. Immigration Court in Memphis.
Maine Law: Why did you choose to attend Maine Law?
Marta Hurgin: I knew I wanted to help people, and I wanted a job that would hold my interest. I tend to move from one thing to the next. I like a job where I can really have an impact, where the stakes are high. That motivates me.
ML: Did you have any family members or friends who encouraged you to pursue a career in the legal field?
MH: Not at all. No one in my family is a lawyer, no family friends or anything like that. I really had no idea what to expect out of law school, or even about the Bar Exam.
ML: The summer of your 1L year, you interned with a criminal defense firm in Portland, Strike Goodwin & O’Brien. What was that experience like for you?
MH: I was incredibly lucky to get that job, and I fell in love pretty quickly with criminal defense. Two of the younger attorneys at the firm at that time, Kevin Moynihan and Amanda Doherty, went to Maine Law and they were great mentors. I was thrown into the mix as the firm was working on a lot of big cases, including appeals on two murder cases. That internship gave me some direction for the rest of law school.
ML: This past year you had an externship with the Federal Defender Office for the District of Maine. What was it like to work with Federal Defender David Beneman (Maine Law ’85)?
MH: He is a genius and an unbelievable person to learn from. He would pretty much take me anywhere. I’d go into lockup to meet with clients, to jury selection. It was an intense experience. The federal drug court program was held on Thursday, and I went to that every other week. I really became fascinated with sentencing policy and concepts of alternative sentencing.
ML: How did you become interested in immigration law?
MH: I had taken immigration law in the fall of my 3L year, when I was doing the externship with the Federal Defender’s Office, and I became very interested in the issues, and the immigrant community in Maine. I applied for the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic in the spring, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted. It was incredibly intense and challenging, probably the hardest semester of my law school career, but also by far the most rewarding. I worked on affirmative asylum cases for two clients who were truly inspiring. Both of them have families back in Africa. Hopefully, with the help of the clinic, they will get asylum and their families can come to Maine.
ML: Did you do anything outside of law school to stay balanced?
MH: I coached the Windham High School alpine ski team all three years during law school. My mom is a teacher at Windham, and I am still really connected to that community. It was really refreshing to just go out and go skiing and be with the students. They didn’t care about what was going on at law school.
ML: What was the most rewarding part of law school?
MH: The number of clients I got to work with on a one-on-one basis, and to make those personal connections was really rewarding. Maine Law met and exceeded my expectations as far as opportunities. The support you get from faculty, staff and alumni is so valuable. You feel like you have so many people in your corner rooting for you.