The University of Maine School of Law will begin holding classes at its new location at 300 Fore St. on Tuesday. 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 holding classes Tuesday at its new home in Portland’s Old Port.

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

Gov. Janet Mills, who graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 1976 and went on to serve as Maine’s Attorney General, came to Portland last week to attend the law school’s open house and to recognize the opening of the new campus with students, law school faculty, and the University of Maine officials. Former Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Leigh Saufley is dean of the law school.

The 64,000-square-foot Fore Street office building also will 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 posted on the law school’s website.

“It’s really important that we’re bringing together law, commerce, and public policy, and research in one building,” Mills told 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, Portland’s Planning Board approved a change of use application that allowed the law school and related programs to move from its home on Deering Avenue to the Old Port location.


The school has occupied the eight-story law school building, which is adjacent to the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus, since 1972. In 2017, Architectural Digest named the building one of the eight ugliest university buildings in America.

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

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

The former tenant of the building, the Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit that helps students study abroad, had occupied the building since 2007, a year after it was built at the corner of Fore and Custom House streets.

The new law school will feature nine learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology; two classrooms with the capacity to seat 100; a fully staffed law library; a designated prayer room; legal aid clinics; a bicycle storage room; and a first-floor space with a fireplace and cafe.

Margaret Nagle, spokesperson for the University of Maine System, said the new law school building at 300 Fore St. will be leased and contains an option to purchase in several years. Plans for the vacant law school on Deering Avenue have not been finalized.

Nagle said the University of Maine anticipates that the vacant law school will eventually be demolished, but there are no final plans to take the building down yet.

When the relocation plan came before the Portland Planning Board last year law school officials said the Old Port building lease was for five years.

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