Neil S. Shankman
Neil Shankman was born and raised in the jungles of suburban New York. He escaped at an early age and then went to college at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. With his Bachelor's Degree in Sociology, Government and Psychology, he proceeded to seek knowledge and wisdom at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. As a member of the Moot Court Board and Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, Mr. Shankman graduated from law school with grades that he has described as "genetically inappropriate". With dreams of raising a family and making a living, Mr. Shankman began the long march back to the East coast, where he landed in Lewiston, Maine.
Mr. Shankman has been a member of the Maine Bar since September of 1977. After four years as a lobbyist for Pine Tree Legal Assistance (statewide legal aid organization), Mr. Shankman developed and opened the first legal clinic in the State of Maine. With offices in Bangor, Lewiston and South Portland, the firm announced its opening with great fanfare. It included the first statewide prepaid legal services plan in Maine, extensive television advertising, and high visibility promotions.
During the course of the last thirty years, Mr. Shankman has continued to maintain his interest in trial work, particularly in the areas of divorce/family matters and personal injury litigation. He has developed one of the largest bankruptcy practices in the State of Maine, and continues to focus on landlord/tenant matters, both in Court and as General Counsel to Maine Real Estate Managers Association. He also serves as State Chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.
After over twenty-five years living in Yarmouth, Maine with his family, he relocated to Topsham in October of 2008 where he managed to find a house built in 1797 that requires almost as much maintenance and repairs as he does. He spends his spare time skiing, sailing, bicycling and playing with his three adult children.
Justin Andrus was born and grew up in New Jersey, then attended high school in New Hampshire. He attended and graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1997. In 2002, Justin graduated from the University of Maine's School of Law in Portland, Maine. While in law school, Justin participated in the Moot Court program in which he learned the art of preparing and presenting cases on appeal for consideration by the Supreme Court. He received the prize for best oral advocate in an international moot court competition in the fall of 2001. He also served as a student attorney at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic in 2001 and 2002. As a member of the clinic, Justin represented low income clients as the attorney of record under the tutelage of experienced clinical practitioners. This program serves much the same function as physician's residency, permitting the student attorney to practice law in an environment in which the student gains experience while providing high quality legal services to people who would not otherwise have access to justice.
After graduating from the School of Law in the Spring of 2002, Justin was licensed to practice in the Courts of the State of Maine, and then in the Federal Courts for the State of Maine including the Bankruptcy Court. He is also licensed to practice before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Justin worked for several years at a small firm in Brunswick, Maine, and then opened a private practice which he operated successfully until December, 2011. Beginning in December, 2011, Justin joined Shankman & Associates from our Topsham, Maine office. By joining Shankman & Associates, Justin has been able to continue his practice providing top shelf legal services to clients in contested civil and criminal actions in the State and Federal Courts without the distraction of administering his own firm.
Justin's practice focuses on resolving disputed matters in both civil and criminal actions, as well as providing services for clients whose cases are on appeal. Justin provides expertise in civil matters, including personal and business cases, for both Plaintiffs and Defendants; in Family Matters for both married and unmarried parties, including exceptional experience with nontraditional families such as multigenerational family issues and same sex partner disputes; and, criminal matters from drunk driving to manslaughter representation. Justin is experienced and comfortable at both the trial level and with appeals from his cases and referral appeals from other lawyers. Justin has participated in several high profile appellate cases that have become landmarks in Maine's legal framework including: Ballard v. Wagner, which involved defamation against a Naval officer; Davis v. Anderson, in which the Maine Supreme Court announced new restrictions on the ability of third-parties to interfere with a parent's rights; and State v. Bilynsky, which came before the Maine Supreme Court for argument 3 times.
Justin is the vice-president of the Bath Brunswick Bar Association and is a member of the governing committee, and previously chairman of, the Maine Bar Association's Lawyer Referral and Information Service. He is married and lives on the Mid Coast. When he's not working, Justin can be found racing cars and sailboats, and taking his dog to the beach with his wife.
Rebecca V. Brochu
Rebecca Vaughan Brochu was born in Chicago, Illinois and lived in various regions of the United States before settling in New England. She attended the University of Connecticut, and graduated from the Western New England College-School of Law in 1996. Rebecca's honors include Magna Cum Laude in 1993, Excellence for the Future Award - Divorce & the Family 1996, and she was recognized by the Maine State Bar Association as the attorney with the most pro bono service hours in the year 2001. Attorney Brochu has been licensed to practice law in the State of Maine since 1997 and her experience includes 2 years of public interest practice and 2 years of private general practice. Rebecca's areas of specialization include family/domestic relations and bankruptcy.
Rebecca resides in Brunswick with her husband, Steven Brochu, also an attorney. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, tennis, and gardening.
Rita m. Farry
Rita has built her reputation as an effective, efficient and aggressive representative of her clients in civil litigation for nearly three decades. She is a renowned expert in collections and creditor's rights in bankruptcy and has lectured frequently on these subjects. Her experience includes litigation in Maine, Massachusetts and Colorado, with successful appeals before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the First and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal. Rita has handled probate of decedent's estates, pursued claims in the U. S. District Court and represented clients in asylum applications before the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Rita was recognized for her pro bono service to indigent clients and awarded membership in the Katahdin Counsel in November, 2012.
Rita enjoys municipal work and has represented the Wells, Maine Sanitary District over the past several years, where she has successfully addressed real estate title problems with properties that have previously languished for years in foreclosure and/or for non-payment of sewer charges under state statute. She has represented real estate developers and other applicants in administrative proceedings and has handled numerous landlord/tenant disputes.
Since December of 2008, Rita has served on the Maine Board of Bar Overseers Ethics Commission. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Cape Elizabeth Home since February, 2010, and she is a former member of the Scarborough, Maine Zoning Board of Appeals. Rita is fluent in Spanish and taught Middle and Upper School students at the Waynflete School in Portland.
Rita joins Shankman & Associates, where her focus will continue to be on civil litigation, including foreclosure defense, domestic relations, probate and immigration issues.
Rita enjoys gourmet cooking, travel, spending time with her husband, John, her teenage son, Miles, and visiting her daughter, Chloe, in Washington, D.C. She enjoys tennis, cross country skiing and her active membership in a local book group. Rita is pleased that her new practice will enable her to be based closer to her home in Cumberland and will facilitate her ongoing efforts to strengthen "aging-friendly communities" that support seniors who wish to continue to live vibrant lives in their own homes. She welcomes collaboration in her efforts to establish the "New Maine Village," (a member-in-development of the "Village to Village Network") a non-profit organization that shares this mission.
Cecilia Guecia grew up in Nashville, Tennessee with family roots in Georgia. Cecilia graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, majoring in European Imperialism and Third World Development with concentrations in South African and Middle Eastern History.
Cecilia's first career was as an actress. She worked in New York City and Boston, attaining lead roles both onstage and in film. Changing her direction, Cecilia moved to New Hampshire in order to participate in the pilot year of an AmeriCorps literacy program for which she independently designed and implemented a literacy program for school age children that remains as one of New Hampshire's most successful literacy programs and which has been replicated in states across the country.
After marrying and having children, Cecilia turned her focus to a legal career. While attending the University of Maine School of Law she was a member of the Moot Court Board, the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, and the Domestic Violence Program. During her second and third years of law school, she worked as a student associate at a Portland criminal defense firm. Cecilia was a Dean's List student and the recipient of a Maine Law Alumni Association three year merit scholarship. She also achieved the highest score for individual oral argument while arguing a complex trademark case at an international moot court competition.
Following law school Cecilia completed a clerkship with The Honorable John H. Pursel, J.S.C., a graduate of Maine Law who presided over one of the busiest trial courts in New Jersey. After her clerkship, Cecilia was an associate with a litigation firm, practicing in the high stakes arenas of New Jersey commercial contracts and estate litigation.
Recently Cecilia's family returned to Maine, settling down in Yarmouth. She brings her passion for social justice, broad life experience, and well-honed litigation skills to Shankman & Associates where she will continue to provide the highest caliber of legal work to her clients in a setting that supports aggressive, focused, and cost-effective case management.
Aubrey A. Russell
Aubrey Russell was born and raised in Minot, Maine. She attended Hebron Academy, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine - Orono with a Sociology degree that included a concentration in Crime, Law and Deviance. She then went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland in 2007. While in law school, Aubrey was the Case Note/Comment Editor for the Ocean and Coastal Law Journal, on the Conduct Committee, and a Member of the Women's Law Association. She also completed the Pro Bono Legal Services Program and clerked for Judge John Beliveau at the Lewiston District Court.
Since law school, Aubrey has assisted in establishing the Maine Alliance for Drug Treatment Courts, and has been on their Board of Directors since 2008. She lives in Minot with her husband, three children, dog, and two cats. She enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering in the community, camping, boating, and playing softball.
Aubrey joined Shankman & Associates in 2008. She concentrates her practice in family law and landlord/tenant matters. She provides fair housing training to our clients, and has worked on several cases involving the Maine Human Rights Commission. In November 2011, Aubrey was recognized for Excellence as one of New England's Outstanding Young Lawyers in Family Law. In 2011 and 2012 Super Lawyers selected Aubrey as a Rising Star.