University of Maine School of Law Timeline

1898 University of Maine Law School opens in the third floor of the Exchange Building, at the corner of State and Exchange streets in Bangor.

1900 The Law School becomes a Charter Member of the Association of American Law Schools.

1905 The school is renamed the University of Maine College of Law, to conform with other units within the University of Maine.

1911 Fire destroys the law school building. The school relocates to the Merrill Estate at Union and Second streets in Bangor. Only five scorched books are rescued from the library.

1917-1918 Student enrollment declines as the U.S. enters World War I. The College of Law moves from Bangor to the University of Maine campus in Orono.

1920 University of Maine Board of Trustees votes to close the College of Law, primarily because of financial difficulties.

1927 Clarence Peabody, the last acting Dean of the College of Law, creates a Bar Review course in Portland, which becomes the private Peabody Law School. The Maine Legislature allows Peabody’s graduates to sit for the Bar Exam.

1941 U.S. enters World War II after attack on Pearl Harbor. Plummeting enrollment and Peabody’s death lead to the closure of the Peabody Law School.

1947 A group of local lawyers creates the Portland University Law School in Portland. Graduates are approved to sit for the Bar Exam, but the program is not accredited by the American Bar Association.

1960 University of Maine trustees vote in support of a merger with Portland University.

1961 The Maine Legislature approves University of Maine merger with Portland University. The Legislature authorizes the University of Maine to absorb the Portland University Law School students into a new public law school in Portland.

January 1962 Edward S. Godfrey is named as the first Dean of the University of Maine School of Law.

September 1962 The modern-day University of Maine School of Law opens at 68 High St. in Portland.

1966 University of Maine School of Law earns full accreditation from the American Bar Association.

1968 The Maine Legislature creates the University of Maine System to unite the public universities in different parts of the state.

1970 The University of Maine at Portland-Gorham (renamed the University of Southern Maine in 1978) is created. Maine Law becomes affiliated with the new school, while retaining its name and mission to serve the entire state and all of its public universities.

1970 The Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, one of the first law school clinical programs in the nation, is established at Maine Law, with a mission to provide free legal aid to low-income individuals and families.

1972 Maine Law moves into the school’s ‘new’ home: a circular, seven-story building at 246 Deering Avenue in Portland.

1978 Maine Law establishes the Marine Law Institute to provide research, teaching, and public service in the area of ocean and coastal law and public policy. The Institute is renamed the Center for Oceans and Coastal Law in 2011.

1993 A square addition to the round Law School building opens, to house the expanding library collection.

1999 Center for Advanced Technology Law and Management is established, and subsequently becomes the Center for Law and Innovation. The Center includes the Maine Patent Program and the Intellectual Property Clinic.

2006 New clinical programs established in Juvenile Justice (2006), Intellectual Property (2008), and Refugee and Human Rights (2012).

2012 Law School establishes post-professional LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree program to complement the J.D. program.

2012 With an enrollment of 280 students, 23 professors, and more than 3,300 alumni throughout the world, Maine Law is well established as an integral voice for education, public service, research, public policy, and justice in Maine and beyond.