UMaine School of Law moves into Old Port office building

The University of Maine School of Law will begin classes Tuesday at its new location at 300 Fore St. The building previously housed the Council on International Educational Exchange. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

For the first time in 50 years, Maine’s only law school will begin classes Tuesday at its new home in Old Portland.

The University of Maine School of Law moved from its old location on Deering Ave. 246 moved to a new location at 300 Fore St.

Gov. Janet Mills, who graduated from the University of Maine Law School in 1976 and later served as Maine’s Attorney General, came to Portland last week to attend the law school’s open house and the opening of the new campus to students salute , law school and officials of the University of Maine. Former Maine Supreme Court Justice Leigh Saufley is the Dean of the Law School.

The 64,000-square-foot office building on Fore Street will also house the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center, the University of Maine Portland Gateway and the University of Maine Graduate School of Business, according to a statement released on the law school’s website.

“It’s really important that we bring law, commerce, public policy and research together in one building,” Mills told the News Center Maine at Thursday’s open house. “This (new campus) brings all of this together where people can share their knowledge and help make Maine a better place.”

In August 2021, the Portland Planning Committee approved a change of use application that allowed law school and related programs to move from their home on Deering Avenue to the Old Port site.

The school has been located in the eight-story law school building adjacent to the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland since 1972. In 2017, Architectural Digest named the building one of the eight ugliest buildings in America.

“The university building may look like a futuristic version of the Roman Coliseum, but the only battles that take place with these walls are those of the bar exam,” wrote Architectural Digest in its review.

The Fore Street office building was renovated to accommodate the needs of the law school. It is located near the center of the Old Port neighborhood, near several downtown law offices and walking distance to state and federal courts.

The building’s former tenant, the Council on International Educational Exchange, a non-profit organization that helps students study abroad, had occupied the building since 2007, a year after it was built on the corner of Fore Street and Custom House Street.

The new law school will have nine classrooms with the latest technology; two classrooms with a capacity of 100 seats; a fully stocked law library; a designated prayer room; legal aid clinics; a bicycle storage room; and a first-floor room with a fireplace and cafe.

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