Franco-American Seminar explores intersection of law and religion

March 20, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – The annual Franco-American Legal Seminar, coordinated by University of Maine School of Law Prof. Martin Rogoff, began Saturday in New York City and continues through the rest of this week at the Law School and other locations in Maine.

The Seminar is a collaboration between Maine Law and two universities in France: Université du Maine in Le Mans; and Université de Rennes. The site of the Seminar alternates each year between Portland and a location in France. Except for breaks in 2001 and 2007, Rogoff has coordinated the Seminar each year since 1994.

The subject of this year’s Seminar is: “Religion, Law, and the State in the U.S., France and Europe.” About 15 students and six faculty members from the French schools arrived in New York City on Saturday, where they were met by eight students and three professors from Maine Law. The group’s itinerary in New York City included visits to the law firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other destinations. Participants will travel to Maine by bus on Tuesday evening. Their itinerary here includes visits with state Attorney General William Schneider and Rep. Sharon Treat, and a gala dinner on Thursday night. Friday is set aside for a daylong conference, hosted jointly by Maine Law and the University of Southern Maine. The conference features Prof. Joseph Weiler of New York University School of Law, and other international experts on religions and how they intertwine with law and government. The conference kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Wishcamper Center on the University of Southern Maine campus.

Maine Law students who are participating in the Franco-American Seminar took a three credit course that explored relevant law in the U.S., France and Europe. Each student prepared a research paper, taking a deeper look at one aspect of law and religion. This week’s Seminar provides an opportunity for the American and French students to share ideas, present their research and to develop lasting international bonds.

One recent Maine Law graduate is traveling from France to take part in this week’s events. Amanda Nicole Zane, ’10, practices international private law at a firm in Paris.

As a 2L at Maine Law, Zane studied abroad at the Université de Cergy Pontoise. Despite the fact that she did not speak French prior to that year abroad, Zane passed the French Bar Exam with flying colors in November 2011. She reports that she earned the highest score of anyone who was required to take all four test components during the sitting at Versailles. Her test was composed of two written components and two oral components, including some intense banter with the jury panel composed of a judge, a professor and a lawyer.

Zane’s practice at the Ramier Law Office, located one block from the U.S. Embassy at the Place de la Concorde, is focused on immigration, tax issues, trusts and estates. She also teaches as an adjunct professor at the Sorbonne, and at the Université de Cergy Pontoise.

For more information about the conference on Friday, March 23, titled “Religion and the State: American, French and European Perspectives,” please email USM Prof. Francesca Vassallo,, or call 207-780-4294.


Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law

Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: