UNE partners with Maine Law to offer faster path to law degree for marine sciences majors

BY Renee Cordes

Photos by Jim Neuger and Courtesy of University of Maine School of Law
Photos by Jim Neuger and Courtesy of University of Maine School of Law
University of New England President James Herbert and Maine Law Dean Danielle Conway will sign an agreement today for the new UNE Marine Sciences - Maine Law 3 + 3 Pathways Program. Qualified students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in marine sciences and a law degree in six years.

The University of New England and the University of Maine School of Law are joining forces to offer marine sciences undergraduates a faster track to a law degree, saving them both time and money.
Due to be formalized in a signing ceremony today in Biddeford, the program will enable qualified students to earn both a bachelor’s degree in marine sciences and a law degree (J.D.) in only six years rather than the typical seven years.
For students, that means saving a year’s worth of undergraduate tuition and the ability to enter their chosen profession a year earlier.
The new UNE Marine Affairs - Maine Law 3+3 Pathways Program, as it is formally known, will offer UNE undergraduates majoring in marine affairs to apply to Maine Law in their junior year. If accepted, students can use their successful completion of their first year of law school as a substitute for their final undergraduate year.
Today’s signing ceremony will be held at UNE’s Arthur P. Girard Marine Science in Biddeford.
In a news release ahead of the event, UNE President James Herbert said the relationship with Maine Law makes perfect sense given that Maine Law is one of six law schools in the country specializing in marine and maritime law and UNE is one of only four nationwide offering a bachelor’s degree in marine affairs.
“Marine affairs is a fast-growing discipline, and law plays an increasingly important role in the field,” he added. “This partnership between UNE and Maine Law will give strong and highly motivated college applications incentive to come to Maine or stay in Maine for their education and their careers.”
Herbert, who succeeded Danielle N. Ripich as UNE president in July 2017, told Mainebiz in a recent ‘On the Record’ interview that his priorities in 2019 include expanding existing programs and adding new ones to address critical market needs.
“Our sweet spot is trying to address the needs in the marketplace, in particular in the state and the region, so we have world-class marine science programs we’re looking at expanding,” he said.
Danielle Conway, dean of Maine Law, said in Wednesday’s release that the collaboration with UNE will deliver immediate opportunities” to students interested in marine affairs and compliance, admiralty law, arctic future and law of the sea.
“Beyond saving students time and money,” she said, “this collaboration will promote among students, staff and faculty an awareness about the significance of the rule of law in sustaining all of our communities in Maine especially those who rely on our marine resources.”
The news comes about a week after Conway announced she is leaving her post as Maine Law dean this coming July to become dean of Penn State’s Dickinson Law.
Conway, a 2017 Mainebiz Woman to Watch honoree, told Mainebiz that while it was a difficult decision, “it was the right one.” She became Maine Law’s first African-American dean in 2015.