The Maine Justice Foundation (MJF) has named its five founders as the organization’s first-ever Honorary Directors. According to MJF Foundation President William S. Harwood, “Our foundation was established under the name “Maine Bar Foundation” back in 1983, thanks to the vision and hard work of these esteemed advocates, and we are incredibly proud to have them as our first-ever Honorary Directors. This is well-deserved recognition of their important work to advance access to justice in Maine and sets a standard for future honorees.”
Referred to over the years as the “Gang of Five,” the five founders represented the Maine State Bar Association, University of Maine School of Law, and Pine Tree Legal Assistance and enjoyed illustrious legal careers.
The recipients of the 2020 Honorary Director title:
- Phyllis Givertz, practiced family law and worked as a mediator. She gaveled to order the first meeting of the Maine Bar Foundation at the Roma Café in December 1983, where the first order of business was a proposed contract with Pine Tree Legal Assistance to operate the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
- Mary Schendel, recently retired from UNUM, where she served as Assistant Vice President and Special Counsel. She played a major role in launching the Campaign for Justice in 2004, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support legal aid in Maine.
- Justice Howard Dana, who practiced law at Verrill Dana from 1967-1993 and was appointed by President Reagan in 1981 to serve as a Director of the Legal Services Corporation, where he championed the cause of funding for legal aid. Justice Dana was appointed by Governor John McKernan to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 1993, where he served until his retirement in 2007. He helped create and lead the Justice Action Group, a coalition of Maine organizations committed to the goal of justice for all.
- Judge John David Kennedy, former leader at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, also served as Maine’s Revisor of Statutes from 1988-1994. In addition, Kennedy held several positions in Maine’s Judicial Branch, including his appointment to the District Court from 2002-2014. Today, Judge Kennedy is Sr. Counsel at the law firm of Eaton Peabody.
- Kinvin Wroth, held various positions at the University of Maine School of Law from 1964-1996, including serving as Dean from 1978-1990. He also served as a Research Fellow at Harvard University from 1968-1974. Wroth moved to Vermont Law School in 1996, where he served as President, Dean and Professor of Law and today as a Professor of Law Emeritus.