Judge Lipez delivers message of encouragement to Maine Law grads

May 19, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – Judge Kermit V. Lipez, speaking at the Saturday, May 19, commencement ceremonies for the University of Maine School of Law, quoted an article from the New York Times.

“As the sour corporate climate reached large law firms in New York and to a lesser degree cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, a bubble burst,” read Lipez, of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. “With business down, particularly in corporate work, real estate, and mergers and acquisitions, several of the most famous law firms have dismissed substantial numbers of lawyers, particularly those in the early years of their careers.”

For a moment, it appeared that Lipez was delivering a harsh dose of reality on an otherwise celebratory day at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium. Then the keynote speaker revealed his point. The New York Times article was written in August of 1990.

“We have been here before. The business cycle is just that – a cycle,” Lipez said. “Hence perspective is important. You should not allow present employment difficulties to cloud your outlook for the future. In our country, good times always follow bad.”

The up-and-down nature of the U.S. economy, Lipez said, was one of several reasons why Maine Law graduates should feel proud and confident moving into the future.

“Your hard work has brought you to another milestone. You have graduated from a fine law school,” Lipez said. “Unexpected doors will open for you. You have a versatile degree. Economic woes are transitory. You do indispensable work. You will help people and reform institutions, constantly refine your skills, and, if you choose, discover the rich history of the law.”

The Honorable Joseph M. Jabar, an Associate Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, was named the 2012 recipient of the 2012 L. Kinvin Wroth Award. The award, named after former Dean L. Kinvin Wroth, honors a Maine Law graduate who has achieved distinction in his or her career by contributing as a leader, locally, nationally or globally, and who has helped advance his or her alma mater.

Jabar joined the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2009 when he was appointed by Governor John Baldacci. He earned his undergraduate degree from Colby College and is a 1971 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law.

Devin W. Deane of Troutville, Va., delivered the student address. Deane came to Maine Law after graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2009 from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. Deane has worked as an intern for the Office of the Federal Defender for the District of Maine; as a student attorney at Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic; and as an associate with the Portland firm of Friedman, Gaythwaite, Wolf & Leavitt.

In 2011, Deane was named as the inaugural Charles Harvey, Jr. Trial Immersion Fellow. In that fellowship, he worked with eight of Maine’s leading trial firms.

Eighty-eight students were awarded J.D. degrees, among them:

Meghan Higgins of Eddington, a natural litigator who has accepted a job as an Assistant Attorney General for Maine, in the Child Protection Division. Higgins, who is also getting married this year, will work at the AG’s Bangor offices, just a few miles from the family farm where she grew up. Higgins learned the ropes as a student attorney at Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic. This spring she won a Law Student Ethics Award from the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. Read the graduation spotlight on Meghan Higgins here.

Johnathan Nathans of Warwick, N.Y. At one time, Nathans played for the Portland Sea Dogs and was a prospect of the Boston Red Sox, but his baseball career was cut short by injury in 2007, during a fight in which he was protecting his pitcher. He found a new direction at Maine Law, and has excelled in the area of criminal law. Nathans has worked as a law clerk and extern in the appellate division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, and as a student attorney at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office. This fall he begins a clerkship with the Maine Superior Court in Portland. Read the graduation spotlight on Johnathan Nathans here.

Christopher Rauscher of Bristol, Maine. He’s 28 years old and he has walked across Spain, surfed big waves in Hawaii, crewed a sailboat from Central America to New York, traveled to Costa Rica to interview a semi-feral surfer, taught history to high school students with psychiatric disorders, and started his own writing and editing company. Now he can add law school graduate to the list. A proud father of an 8-month-old daughter, Rauscher has a fulltime job as a policy staffer for Independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King. Read the graduation spotlight on Christopher Rauscher here.

The full list of awards presented at the 2012 Commencement of the University of Maine School of Law, presented by Christopher Knott, Vice Dean.

Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Awards - Awarded for outstanding academic performance in selected areas of the curriculum. In the past, awards have been given for outstanding performance in:

Business & Commercial Law

Jesse Stewart, Harrington, ME

Criminal Law & Procedure

Emma Bond, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Environmental Law

Lauren Parker, Rocky Hill, CT

Shannon Carroll, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Oceans Law

Chris Rauscher, Bristol, ME


Griffin Leach, Freeport, ME

ABA/BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Intellectual Property Law

Julianna Orgel, Riverdale, NY

American Bankruptcy Institute Medal - For excellence in bankruptcy studies.

Tudor Goldsmith, Needham, MA

Wernick Prize for Legal Writing - Awarded for the best legal scholarship submitted by a student.

Shannon Carroll, Cape Elizabeth, ME, for his article, “Sector Allocation: A Misguided Solution

Upper Level Writing Project Award - Awarded for the best Upper Level Writing Project done by a member of the third-year class, judged by a committee of Faculty members appointed by the dean.

Casey McCormack, Freeport, ME, for his article, “Maintaining a Positive Trajectory: Suggestions for Improving the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Faculty Award for Trial Advocacy - Awarded for outstanding performance in advocacy courses.

Meghan Higgins, Eddington, ME

Timothy Kenlan, Portland, ME

The Clinical Legal Education Award: Awarded to a student nominated by the clinical faculty for excellence in clinical fieldwork based on ethical and high-quality representation provided to clients and the community, and for exemplary thoughtfulness in exploring lawyering issues and skills in an accompanying seminar.

Victoria Silver, Auburn, ME

Gignoux Award for Appellate Advocacy - This award is for the graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in appellate advocacy skills through moot court, clinical practice, or other curricular or extracurricular programs.

Eric Bither, Pittsfield, ME

Kate Marshall, Kennebunk, ME

Faculty Award for Community Service – This award goes to a student who has done significant work in bringing together the law school community and the community at large.

Victoria Silver, Auburn, ME

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

Kristin Murray-James, Wayne, ME

John O’Hara, Flushing, NY

National Association of Women Lawyers Recognition Award - Awarded to a graduate who has contributed to the advancement of women in society and promoted issues and concerns of women in the legal profession.

Elyse Apantaku, Wilmette, IL

Edward S. Godfrey Leadership Award – This award goes to the student who has made the most significant contribution to a student-edited law journal during his or her years at the law school.

Rob Hayes, Brewer, ME

Shannon Carroll, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Faculty Scholastic Achievement Award - This award is given to that member of the senior class who achieves, over three years of law study, the highest academic average.

Emma Bond, Cape Elizabeth, ME

ALI/ABA Scholarship and Leadership Award - Awarded to the law student in the graduating class who best represents a combination of scholarship and leadership.

Tudor Goldsmith, Needham, MA

Faculty Significant Achievement Awards - These awards are presented to members of the senior class whose academic performance and overall contribution to the school have been significant.

Devin Deane, Troutville, VA

Erin Dooling, Middlebury, CT

Lisa Magnacca, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Joseph Siviski, Yarmouth, ME

Jesse Stewart, Harrington, ME

Reeve Wood, Richmond, ME

Award Presented by Cornelia Fuchs, Alumni Association Board President

Law School Alumni Association Award

Emma Bond, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Award Presented by Diana DeJesus, SBA President

Student Bar Association Distinguished Service Award

Victoria Silver, Auburn, ME

Awards received prior to Maine Law Commencement Ceremonies:

2012 Association of Corporate Counsel Law Student Ethics Award

Meghan Higgins, Eddington, ME

Shur-Frinsco Award

Casey McCormack, Freeport, ME


Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law
Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: