BANGOR — The state Board of Education has approved Husson
College's proposal to offer law degrees, putting Maine a step
closer to having a second law school.
College President William Beardsley said the Bangor school will
now petition the state Supreme Judicial Court to allow Husson
graduates to take the state bar examination. If the court gives
timely approval, the school hopes to begin offering classes by
the fall of 2008.
"We're very, very pleased," Beardsley said after Wednesday's vote
by the board. "This is a major step in the process, with the next
important step being going before the Supreme Court this fall."
The initial class would have 30 students, Beardsley said. The
school would operate year-round and consist mostly of night
Husson has been expanding its graduate offerings, which now
include a physical therapy program. Last month, the state board
approved the school's proposal to grant degrees in pharmacy.
Maine's only law program is in Portland, at the University of
Maine School of Law.
Having a second law school in Bangor would give Mainers who
live more than two hours from Portland access to a degree
program many have found out of reach, he said.
In addition, Husson's law school would provide more attorneys
for people living in much of rural Maine, he said.
The law school proposal was unanimously endorsed by a
committee of lawyers and educators that reviewed the plan.
Former Maine Chief Justice Daniel Wathen, a committee member,
said the panel's members "were very aggressive going over the
applicant," asking many questions and probing details of the
Wathen said that although Husson's proposal meets the
requirements of state law, the committee did add some
"caveats," pertaining to such matters as the school's library and
Robert Kahn, a former corporate lawyer and Husson professor, is
to serve as the school's dean. Kahn said Husson's program is to
be modeled after that of the Massachusetts School of Law, in
which graduates are permitted to take their bar exams in Maine.
He expects a reciprocal agreement allowing the Husson
graduates to take their exams in Massachusetts.