Hon. Howard H. Dana, Jr.

The honorable Howard H. Dana, Jr. was presented with the Hon. Edmund S. Muskie Access to Justice Award on May 27, 2015.

The distinguished career of Hon. Howard H. Dana, Jr. has always been marked by a strong commitment to the public good, beginning in law school and continuing to the present day. Justice Dana graduated from Bowdoin College in 1962 and received a law degree and Masters in public administration from Cornell in 1966, as well as a Masters in judicial process from the University of Virginia in 1998. Following a clerkship with Judge Edward T. Gignoux, he practiced law at the law firm of Verrill Dana, LLP in Portland from 1967 to 1993, primarily in the field of corporate litigation. In 1993, Governor John R. McKernan appointed him to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court where he served until March of 2007. Following his retirement from the Court, Justice Dana rejoined Verrill & Dana where he continues to serve as ‘Counsel’.

Justice Dana has long been a leader in the cause of legal services for the poor.  Early in his career, he was an active volunteer with the Cumberland County Legal Aid Clinic; he later helped Pine Tree Legal prevail in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Maine vs. Thiboutot, and has quietly volunteered his legal expertise for countless other low-income Mainers on a pro bono basis. In the 1980s, he helped found two great institutions that have changed the landscape of legal aid delivery in Maine: the Maine Bar Foundation and the Volunteer Lawyers Project.  He went onto to serve as a member of the Maine Commission on Legal Needs, which was chaired by Senator Muskie, and then worked to implement recommendations from its 1990 report. In 1995, he helped form the Justice Action Group as a new planning body for access to justice issues in Maine and helped lead that group as its State Court representative until his retirement in 2007.  

Justice Dana has also been a champion of legal services on a national level. In 1981, he was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a Director of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), where he championed the cause of funding for legal services until his appointment to the Maine Supreme Court in 1993.  He has been active with the national American Bar Association on these issues as well, having served on the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and the ABA IOLTA commission. In 2010, he received the ABA Grassroots Advocacy Award.

In recognition of his commitment to equal access to justice for all citizens, the Maine Bar Foundation established the Howard H. Dana, Jr. Award, which is presented annually to honor an individual for his or her commitment to the goals of the Foundation.  It is worth noting that Senator Muskie received the Howard Dana Award from the Maine Bar Foundation in 1992.

Muskie Fund for Legal Services | P.O. Box 547, Portland, Maine 04112 | (207) 400-3279