BANGOR, Maine — Ten recent law school graduates became members of the bar Friday in a ceremony at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Tracy Collins Lacher, 28, of Orland, a May graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, was not there. She was in the building but standing before a judge in a different courtroom representing the state in criminal matters.
Collins Lacher, an assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, was sworn in Sept. 28 in a private ceremony less than a week after she learned she had passed the Maine bar exam. Three days later, she added Lacher to her name by marrying Adam Lacher.
Collins Lacher, who grew up in Bangor and graduated from Bangor High School, did not set out to be a lawyer, let alone a prosecutor. She earned her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Maine, then worked for the Bangor Daily News before entering law school
“This was something my mother encouraged me to look into for a long time,” Collins Lacher said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I’d always sort of rejected it due to the image of lawyers on TV. I decided to take the [Law School Admission Test], did well on it and was accepted at [the University of Maine School of Law in Portland]. I ended up loving it.”
At the end of her first year of law school, Collins Lacher still didn’t see herself working in criminal law. That changed after a volunteer summer internship at the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office. Her work that summer led to a full-time job offer from Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy.
“She’s a first-round draft pick,” he said in a telephone interview Friday. “She’s a quick thinker, a good researcher, a top-notch writer with a pleasant personality, and a real go-getter. When she was an intern on a volunteer basis, I could tell she had special qualities.”
Almy said that during Collins Lacher’s final year in law school, his office hired her part-time. Now that she has passed the bar exam, Collins Lacher is a full-time prosecutor. She replaced James Diehl, who retired last year.
Collins Lacher praised Almy and her co-workers.
“The more I work with other prosecutors and the more I learn about the philosophy that drives the decisions my office makes, the prouder I am to work here,” she said. “Because I come from Bangor, I come in to work every day and contribute to making my own community a safer place.”
She said the philosophy of the office was tough to articulate and may even sound trite.
“It’s driven so much by treating everyone the same,” Collins Lacher said. “Treating people fairly sounds like it would be obvious, but it’s not. This office does a really good job of that with all who walk into our office.”
She also loves being on her feet in a courtroom.
“I had a couple of internships where I spent all of my time in an office doing research and writing,” she said. “I find that I’m a lot happier if I’m able to get away from that computer and be in a courtroom. Now I really couldn’t imagine being away from that courtroom element, it’s become so much a part of my day. I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”
Like Collins Lacher, all but one of the five men and five women sworn in Friday live and work in Maine.
Matthew Cobb, 28, of Bangor grew up digging clams in Washington County and was a star soccer player at Machias Memorial High School. Now he is working as a clerk for Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Andrew Mead, whose office is in Bangor. Next year, he will go to work for Rudman Winchell, a Bangor law firm.
“I’ve always been interested in the law,” Cobb said after the ceremony. “I’m going to be doing general practice law, and in Bangor I’m still close to rural Maine and I can help folks at home.”
Jennifer Davis, 26, of Old Town became interested in the law while an undergraduate when she had to write a mock judicial decision.
“I thought that there had to be something there for me,” said Davis, who grew up in Greenville and graduated from Schenck High School in East Millinocket. “While I was in law school, I was guided into the commercial aspects of business law.”
Davis is working for Vafiades, Brountas and Kominsky in Bangor.
The other new members of the bar are: Benjamin Cabot of Dover-Foxcroft, Benjamin Elias of Mount Desert, Colin Howard of Bangor, Jonathan Hunter of Bangor, Rebecca Klotzle of Searsport, Megan Magoon of Hampden, Katherine Mitchell of Washington, D.C., and Molly Owens of East Machias.