Governor Janet Mills has nominated veteran District Court Judge Rick E. Lawrence to serve as an Associate Justice on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. If confirmed, Judge Lawrence, who has served on the District Court for nearly 22 years, would be the first Black Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice.
“Judge Lawrence’s extensive legal experience, measured temperament, strong intellect, and proven commitment to upholding the law and administering justice impartially make him an exceptional candidate for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court,” said Governor Mills. “I am honored to nominate him and believe his service on our highest court will greatly benefit the people of Maine.”
“I am deeply honored by Governor Mills’ nomination to serve on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, a nomination that comes with formidable responsibility and unparalleled opportunity to serve the people of our great state,” said Judge Lawrence. “If confirmed by the Legislature, I promise to work tirelessly to serve the people of Maine and to administer justice fairly and impartially to the people of Maine, just as they deserve.”
Since 2000, Judge Lawrence has presided primarily in Courts within Androscoggin, Oxford, and Franklin Counties, and he also serves as the Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court. Judge Lawrence was first nominated to the District Court by Governor Angus King and then renominated by Governor John Baldacci, Governor Paul LePage, and Governor Mills.
In addition to his duties, Judge Lawrence also serves as the Presiding Judge for Androscoggin County Unified Criminal Docket’s Domestic Violence Judicial Monitoring Program and has served as the Presiding Judge for the Foreclosure Diversion Program for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties.
Judge Lawrence also served as the Chair of the Judicial Branch Advisory Committee on Children & Families, which was charged with creating a guardian ad litem program for Maine. He also served as a member of the Access and Visitation Advisory Committee and the Limited English Proficiency Committee, which helps formulate the Judicial Branch’s policy on interpretive services and supports. He also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maine School of Law.
Prior to his appointment to the District Court, Judge Lawrence worked as an attorney and Vice President and Managing Counsel at Unum and as an Associate at Pierce Atwood.
Judge Lawrence, 66, graduated from Harvard Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Yale. He lives in Portland with his wife and has two adult children.
Judge Lawrence’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on the Judiciary and the Maine State Senate. If confirmed, Judge Lawrence will replace Associate Justice Ellen Gorman who announced her intent to retire in January 2021. Justice Gorman has served on the Court since 2007.
Judge Lawrence is Governor Mills’ fourth nomination to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court since taking office. Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill was nominated by Governor Mills in May 2021 while Associate Justices Catherine Connors and Andrew Horton were nominated by the Governor in January 2020. Governor Mills also renominated Associate Justice Andrew Mead in May 2021. All were unanimously confirmed by the Legislature.