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Maine Law students seek to raise over $10,000 for fellowships at 25th Annual Auction

The Maine Association for Public Interest Law will hold its Annual Auction on April 5

February 5, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Association for Public Interest Law, a student group at the University of Maine School of Law, is reaching out to the business and legal communities in an effort to gather donations for its 25th Annual Auction.

The student organization hopes to raise more than $10,000 at the April 5 event. The money will support fellowships for students to work in the area of public interest law, helping low-income families, veterans, immigrants, and others in need of legal aid.

“We are collecting donations and reaching out to area businesses, asking them to help support this project, which will allow us to place first and second year students in unique learning and service positions over the summer,” said auction coordinator Mariah Mulvihill.

MAPIL welcomes a variety of charitable donations for the auction, including services, vacation accommodations, gift certificates, and products of any kind. Items auctioned off at past events have ranged from sports tickets to handmade jewelry, gift cards for local retailers, yoga classes and even a seaplane ride with a private pilot. Professional photo shoots, autographed memorabilia and lodging packages have proven to be big ticket items, raising thousands of dollars to fund fellowships for students who seek to work with underserved populations and nonprofit causes.

“There are now more people than ever who cannot afford legal services, who require assistance at some of the hardest times in their lives,” said Amy Olfene, co-chair of MAPIL. “Our mission is to support students assisting community members who cannot afford legal counseling, while opening the doors for practical experience in the areas of law, policy, and entrepreneurship.”

Last year, money raised at the auction helped fund 11 fellowships, including a summer job for Valeria Randall at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) in Portland. Randall worked with ILAP on a variety of cases, assisting dozens of individuals and families.

“Working at ILAP provided me with an opportunity to apply my knowledge to the practice of law, and to develop a deeper understanding than I could have ever found in a classroom,” Randall said. “I would not have had this opportunity without the MAPIL fellowship funding my position.”

Individuals and businesses interested in donating to the auction can contact MAPIL via email, mapil@maine.edu. The silent auction will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 5, in the lobby of the University of Maine School of Law 246 Deering Ave., Portland. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking will be available. There will be food, refreshments and entertainment.

“It’s an event and concept we want our community to embrace. We hope that by sharing the fun and excitement, we can build awareness of the importance of public interest legal work,” Olfene said.

For more information on MAPIL, and the auction, visit www.mapil.org.

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The Maine Association for Public Interest Law (MAPIL) is a student-run association affiliated with the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL) and the University of Maine School of Law. The association has three goals: to encourage students engagement in one of many diverse, volunteer legal opportunities during the school year and summer; encourage students to pursue careers in the public arena by demonstrating that public interest work is a viable and desirable alternative to working in the private sector; and promote the ethic of pro bono work. For more information, please visit www.mapil.org.

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