“After a national search, the Board of the Maine Justice Foundation has unanimously and enthusiastically selected Michelle Giard Draeger to serve as our new executive director,” announced Foundation President William S. Harwood. “She has the skills and abilities essential to leading the Foundation into the future and advancing our mission of ensuring access to justice to Mainers who are vulnerable and hurt by poverty.”
Ms. Draeger succeeds Diana C. Scully, who has served as the Foundation’s executive director since May 2013 and announced last fall that she planned to retire at the end of May 2020. Ms. Draeger will begin her new position on May 18, 2020.
A native of Maine, Ms. Draeger graduated from the University of Maine, School of Law in 1999. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at Pine Tree Legal Services, focusing on cases involving domestic violence. From 2001-2003, she was an associate in the litigation practice of Friedman Gaythwaite Wolf & Leavitt in Portland.
Ms. Draeger joined the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in 2004, first serving in Washington, D.C., for two years, and then in the Commission’s Boston office for six years as a Senior Enforcement Counsel. From 2012-2013, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Maine and from 2013-2016, she was Manager of Compliance, Legal Affairs, Privacy and Program Integrity at Martin’s Point Health Care.
Since 2016, Ms. Draeger has served on the Board of Trustees of the Falmouth Land Trust and has also served as vice president and chair of the Development Committee. Ms. Draeger was a member of the inaugural class of the New Girls Network and later served on the boards of the Maine Women’s Fund and the Maine Humanities Council.
According to H. Lowell Brown, chair of the Search Committee and the Foundation’s president-elect, “We are very impressed with Michelle’s commitment to service, her collegial management style, her effective courtroom presence, and her calm and practical focus on mission.” Michelle Draeger adds, “It is the honor of my legal career to serve the Maine Justice Foundation in this capacity and support its mission of safeguarding access to justice for low-income and vulnerable Mainers.”
In 1983, leaders of the Maine State Bar Association and the University of Maine, School of Law created the Maine Bar Foundation, which is today’s Maine Justice Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to ensuring access to civil justice for poor and vulnerable Mainers by providing grants to support civil legal aid and other law-related program initiatives, education and services, as well as charitable investment opportunities for individuals, families and organizations.