David Reuben Clerkships

These clerkships are generously funded by Mr. David Reuben, a long-time ALDF supporter, who shares our mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. Since 2007, 17 outstanding law students have benefited from this unique opportunity to be trained by top ALDF experts in animal law. Included are just of few of the testimonials we’ve received over the years highlighting the impact that the David Reuben Legal Clerkships have had on the next generation of animal lawyers.


The David Reuben Clerkship gave me unparalleled litigation and real world work experience while I was in law school nearly 10 years ago. I could not be more grateful for Mr. Reuben’s vision in supporting young advocates (including myself) in the quest to fine tune our animal law “tool belts.” I am humbled to say that Mr. Reuben and I have remained fans of each other’s work over the years as well! –Sarah Baeckler Davis, Primatologist and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Expert

The members of Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Litigation Program made me feel like a part of the team by inviting me to meetings and asking for my input on a number of issues. The most demanding aspect of the clerkship was handling a number of projects concurrently that dealt with completely different areas of the law. At any given time, I could have been working on four separate projects related to the Clean Water Act, the Lanham Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the drafting of a petition for rulemaking under a state’s Administrative Procedure Act. Animal law practitioners deal with a myriad of substantive areas of law. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with, and I sincerely look forward to working with Animal Legal Defense Fund again in the future. – Jonathan Morris (Lewis & Clark Law School), 2016 Litigation Program Clerk

I would absolutely recommend this clerkship to other law students, particularly any students that are interested in animal law but do not go to Lewis and Clark. I come from a law school with a very small SALDF chapter, that hasn’t offered an animal law course in five years. I was intimidated coming to Portland, home to the best animal law program in the country. I am so glad I did. This clerkship was like an animal law course and an amazing job experience all rolled into one. I was exposed to every aspect of animal law through my many diverse projects. But more importantly, I was able to talk every day to so many bright, passionate people who work in the field. I could ask all of my questions, brainstorm ideas, and debate theories. I am so grateful for this experience, and for everyone at ALDF that welcomed, supported, and taught me. –Kathleen Wood (Notre Dame Law School), 2016 Criminal Justice Program Clerk

The most rewarding part of my clerkship would have to be the ability to work on a project from its inception. Before working at ALDF, along with the general public, all I would see of ALDF’s projects were the final outcomes. I found it fascinating to see a project, and potential lawsuit, started from just a single idea…Working for ALDF has definitely solidified my desire to practice animal law in some form or another in the future. I think it was important to be exposed to the heart of animal law and see the good that can be achieved, but also the realities of the field. Unlike all other legal experience I have had, I enjoyed coming to work, felt excited about new projects, looked forward to participating in meetings, and did not mind doing a little extra work to meet a deadline. Although I want all my projects, no matter the field, to result in a positive outcome, it was extremely gratifying to have my “non-lawyer side” also care about my projects and work. — Kelsey McLean (St. Louis University), Summer 2014 Litigation Program Clerk

My summer David Reuben Clerkship was one of the most incredible experiences that I’ve ever had (especially as a stressed-out law student!), and I know that the knowledge and experience that I gained over the summer has had a profound impact on not only my future career path, but my life. I would certainly recommend the clerkship program to other law students. First, the ALDF is on the cutting edge of animal law in the United States, and for someone with ambitions to work in this particular field, there is no better place to be. Second, animal law touches on so many areas of law (such as property law, criminal law, victims’ rights, trust and estates…the list goes on and on), that a student would still gain a well-rounded insight into the practice of law generally. My summer experience has basically affirmed what I had always thought about animal law: that it is important, that it is growing, and that it is the area in which I want to work for the rest of my life. I have begun the new school year with a renewed passion to help my school’s SALDF Chapter accomplish great things, for I know the people behind the ALDF logo, and they are working with such dedication and passion that we owe it to them, and the animals, to accomplish all we can. Thank you for this incredible experience!!! — Reagan Bush (University of Georgia), Summer 2009 Criminal Justice Program Clerk

The time I spent in the office over the first two weeks of my clerkship afforded me the opportunity to visit with the county sheriff’s department on a case involving scores of llamas and alpacas being neglected and denied proper space, food, water, and treatment…Doing subsequent research on matters related to the case and the defendants was likewise valuable, because I got to see a large part of how a case like this is built and prepared for prosecution. Apart from any specific project, though, the most rewarding component of my clerkship experience was the opportunity to work with amazing people, most especially my supervisor, Scott Heiser. His professional experience and insight has been amazing to watch in action. Being in the tutelage of one with his vast knowledge and experience has been very valuable and has taught me to look at questions from new perspectives and how to solve problems in different ways. When I felt like my work on an assignment was going not as well as I liked, Scott was very encouraging and optimistic. He’s a great guy to work with and for! — Ronald Schoedel (Brigham Young University), Summer 2012 Criminal Justice Program Clerk

I would definitely recommend the clerkship program to other law students…It is very rewarding to be able to do research to assist in prosecutions of current problems dealing with animal cruelty across the country. Every project I had was very different and so I learned about several different aspects of criminal animal law. — Stacy Takekawa (University of Hawaii), Summer 2011 Criminal Justice Program Clerk

The David Reuben Clerkship itself taught me more than I could have hoped about the day-to-day practice of animal law and impact litigation in general. More importantly, it helped me get my foot in the door of ALDF’s Litigation Program. Thanks to that boost, I now have the rare opportunity to start my life as a lawyer doing animal rights work. I couldn’t be happier with my career right now, and it’s in large part because of my ALDF summer clerkship. — John Melia (UC Berkeley), Summer 2010 Litigation Program Clerk

Current David Reuben Clerkships

For more information on how to apply for a David Reuben Clerkship please visit the links below.

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