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May 7, 2018

UMPI students offered accelerated pathway to Maine Law degree

Courtesy / University of Maine School of Law
Courtesy / University of Maine School of Law
The University of Maine School of Law is offering students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle an accelerated pathway to law school under an agreement signed by the two institutions.

The University of Maine School of Law is offering students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle an accelerated pathway to law school under an agreement signed by the two institutions last week.

As part of the new 3+3 law degree program, students in specific majors can study at UMPI for three years, and then apply for admission to the Juris Doctor program at Maine Law. If accepted, they can transfer to the Portland campus to finish their final year of UMPI undergraduate studies while completing their first year of law school.

At the moment, this opportunity is available to students in UMPI's Business program, but this is expected to be expanded to other programs soon.The collaboration fits into a broader goal to improve legal representation in rural communities spearheaded by Danielle Conway, dean of Maine Law and a 2017 Mainebiz Woman to Watch.

"The 3+3 Baccalaureate/JD Program is an important mechanism for Maine's public universities and its public and only law school—Maine Law—to work together to deliver another educational opportunity for our students," Conway said in a statement.

She added: "Beyond saving students time and money, 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."

The accelerated law pathway agreement comes as the law school prepares to send four students to intern with firms this summer as Rural Practice Fellows, two more than last year in when that pilot program was launched. They will head to Presque Isle, Dover-Foxcroft, Skowhegan and Calais.

The 3+3 Program will save students a year of undergraduate tuition and allow them to complete both an undergraduate and law degree in six years instead of seven.

It also provides an opportunity for the law school to talk to local students in more depth about law careers. Law school officials are planning UMPI campus visits in coming semesters to share presentations on law as well as on non-traditional uses for a law degree and the need for attorneys in rural practice.

Ray Rice, UMPI's president, said his school is pleased to partner with Maine Law "on this seamless pathway from a bachelor's degree to a law degree."

"Not only does it open new doors for our students to careers in law," he added, "it also works to address the need for more attorneys practicing in rural Maine and right here in Aroostook County."

There are only 17 attorneys in Presque Isle, which has a population of 9,171, and 75 in all of Aroostook County.

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