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August 22, 2018

Bernstein Shur gives $50K to Maine Law in honor of retiring shareholder

Courtesy / Bernstein Shur
Courtesy / Bernstein Shur
Pat Peard, who has retired as a shareholder at the Portland-based law firm Bernstein Shur. The law firm announced it has committed a $50,000 gift to the University of Maine School of Law in her name to support areas of greatest need at the law college.

About Bernstein Shur

Founded in 1915, Bernstein Shur is Maine's largest law firm with more than 110 attorneys working at its offices in Portland, Augusta and Manchester, N.H. Its lawyers practice in more than 20 key areas across a variety of industries. The firm is Maine's exclusive member of Lex Mundi, the world's foremost association of independent law firms.

The Portland-based law firm Bernstein Shur has committed to a $50,000 gift to the University of Maine School of Law in honor of its retiring shareholder Pat Peard. The gift is intended to support the areas of greatest need at Maine Law.

Described by others as a "justice warrior," Peard has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community throughout her career, according to a news release. She led the more than 10-year fight to include sexual orientation as a protected category to the Maine Human Rights Act and also worked on numerous campaigns to legalize same sex marriage.

In recognition of these and her many other career milestones, she has received numerous awards. These awards include:

  • Equality Maine's first Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Deborah Morton Award from the University of New England.
  • L. Kinvin Wroth Award from Maine Law.
  • Justice Scolnik Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.
  • Take a Stand Award from the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.

"I've known Pat since the very beginning of her legal career," said Pat Scully, CEO at Bernstein Shur. "In fact, I interviewed her when she was a 2L at Maine Law and brought her on to work as a summer associate. I knew from our first encounter that she would make a great Bernstein Shur lawyer."

Scully said the law firm considered its commitment to Maine Law as a "wonderful way" to honor Peard's legacy and celebrate her "extraordinary legal career and her statewide leadership on important social issues."

"We also support the fantastic institution that provided us such a wonderful lawyer, leader, colleague and friend," he said.

About Pat Peard

Peard received her law degree from Maine Law in 1988. Until her recent retirement, she was the chair of the firm's education practice group. She practiced in all areas of employment and labor law, with an emphasis on the needs of colleges, universities and secondary schools.

She served on the firm's board of directors for many years and also served as co-chair of its Litigation Group and chair and co-chair of its labor and employment group. Peard was also a member of Bernstein Shur's litigation and dispute resolution practice group.

Prior to attending law school, she was a secondary school teacher. She received her master of arts degree from the University of Minnesota and her bachelor of arts degree from Wilson College.

"I am honored to accept this $50,000 gift from Bernstein Shur in honor of alumna Pat Peard," said Danielle Conway, dean of the University of Maine School of Law. "Pat demonstrates how a lawyer should combine leadership and a commitment to equity to serve individuals, the community and the legal profession. She is the kind of lawyer-leader whom we strive to emulate in pursuing excellence in our teaching, service and scholarship at the University of Maine School of Law."

The University of Maine School of Law, which is the state's public and only law school, said it would use the gift from Bernstein Shur to support is mission of providing "an accessible and affordable student-focused program of legal education."

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