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Maine Law Professor Awarded Honorary Doctorate

A French university has awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Martin Rogoff of the University of Maine School of Law for his 20 years of work in building greater understanding of the differences between French and American legal and political thought. 

Rogoff, a longtime resident of Portland, received the honorary degree at ceremonies held in late November at The Université du Maine in Le Mans, France. The university is named for one of the traditional provinces of France and is not affiliated with the University of Maine.  French television and newspapers covered the ceremony.  

“The principle which has guided my research and writing has been my desire to help the French and Americans better understand each other,” said Rogoff in his formal remarks, “not necessarily that they always agree, but that they mutually understand each other.”  While admitting that “significant differences” exist between French and American politics and law, Rogoff told the audience that, “..both peoples, the French and Americans, have built free, prosperous and flourishing societies, in which civil rights and human rights are recognized and well protected by law, societies where the rule of law governs.” 

Rogoff first visited The Université du Maine 20 years ago and has worked since with colleagues at the French university, as well as with officials throughout the French courts and political institutions. He has published extensively in the area of international law, and has taught courses such as “International Law” and “American Constitutional Law” in France.

Rogoff is director of the University of Maine School of Law’s French Law Program, which offers students the opportunity to study the French legal system and participate in the program’s annual Franco-American Legal Seminar. The seminar allows students from France and Maine to explore issues of comparative law and visit legal and judicial leaders in both nations.  Faculty from both nations recently published the proceedings from the 2010 seminar, which focused on French and American responses to the 2008 financial crisis.   

Rogoff, an elected member of the French Society of International Law, is coordinator of international programs at the University of Maine School of Law.  He joined Maine Law in 1972 and has served both as professor and associate dean. Prior to joining the Maine Law faculty, he had been in private practice in Oakland, California and New York City, and served as an assistant professor of law at the University of Toledo College of Law. 

Rogoff holds degrees from University of California at Berkeley, and from Yale and Cornell Universities.