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Roger A. Putnam
The world does not stand still, and we should adapt our concepts, our laws, and the functions of government to changing times and circumstances. To do otherwise would be to say that we lack the courage, the foresight, and the ability to use the tools which our ancestors so wisely provided. Only we the living can apply those tools to uses which will meet our needs today.
-Edmund S. Muskie, January 6, 1955
Roger A. Putnam recently celebrated his 50th Anniversary with Verrill Dana, where he currently serves as the firm’s Special Counsel. Roger started his undergraduate degree at the University of New Hampshire in 1942. After service in the United States Army during World War II, he went on to Boston University School of Law. Roger was admitted to the Maine Bar in 1951 and from 1951-1958 served as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Maine. He joined the law firm of Verrill Dana in 1958, retiring as a senior partner in 1995.
In 1995, major changes in the funding and regulatory climate related to Maine’s civil legal aid providers prompted formation of a new ad hoc planning body, the Justice Action Group, whose first chair was Judge Frank M. Coffin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. One of their first areas of concern was the need to preserve capacity to provide legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of poor people. At the request of JAG Chair Judge Coffin, Roger took a leadership role in supporting that effort. The end result was the formation of a new nonprofit, Maine Equal Justice Partners, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006 and is widely recognized as on of the country’s most effective poverty law organizations. Roger served as its first Board President and remained on the MEJP Board for over 10 years. More recently, his experience and persuasive powers have benefited all the providers through his work with the Campaign for Justice, an annual fundraising appeal began in 2004, which last year raised $400,000 from Maine lawyers in support of legal services.
Roger is a Fellow of the American Bar and Maine State Bar Associations, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Maine Bar Foundation. He is a member of the Cumberland Bar Association and currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer for the Portland Senior Lawyers Association. Additionally, Roger has served as a member of many other organizations, including national, state and local bar associations, the Board of Cleaves Law Library, the Board of Visitors of the University of Maine School of Law, the Campaign Committee for the Lewis V. Vafiades Scholarship Fund for the University, the Maine Executive Committee of the Newcomen Society of the United States and the Maine Judicial Ethics Committee.