By: Jenasa Staples, Staff Writer
Earlier this year, the University of Maine board of trustees decided to separate Maine Law and USM starting in 2022. Maine Law is the only law school in Maine and is known for being the second institution in the nation that provides privacy certificates, a now growing field. 75% of Maine Law graduates stay in Maine working as lawyers at big law firms and small-town family-owned firms.
Cliff McCarthy, a third-year student at Maine Law, expressed his feelings about the new change. “I have no strong feelings because I’m a third-year student and I don’t think it will affect me.” Another third-year student, Harriet Anderson, agrees, saying that she likes Maine Law being separate from USM because she thinks Maine Law should be its own institution. “People think Maine Law is under the same umbrella as USM, and it’s not.”
Maine Law dean, Dimitri Bam, explains that Maine Law was never a division of USM. It has always been its own institution, but because it is on USM’s campus the funds for Maine Law flow through USM. He says that the change now is that funds for the budget of Maine Law will be coming directly from the University of Maine System.
“This is a good arrangement where everyone wins,” Ban said. Maine Law has been in a deficit the past few years due to a lack of students going to law school. USM has been bridging the gap for them, but now Maine Law will get what they need for their budget and USM will not have to bear anything financially. Bam says that there are still decisions about this change being discussed, but as of right now, students going to Maine Law will still share the gym, mental health services, and a few other facilities at USM.
“The biggest change is the reporting structure,” said Bam. Bam will be reporting straight to the chancellor instead of USM.
USM President Glenn Cummings, says, “It’s a win, win. This will be very good for USM because we will maintain a strong connection with Maine Law and we don’t have to maintain their bills.” Cummings also says that this change will benefit USM students. The money that was being given to Maine Law to help with its deficit is now planned to be used towards scholarships, new facilities and new research opportunities for students and faculty at USM.