Speakers & Moderators

Keynote Speaker

Jo-Anne McArthur, Photojournalist, Author and Educator, We Animals

The We Animals project was created by award-winning photojournalist, author and educator Jo-Anne McArthur, who has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over a decade. We Animals has become an internationally celebrated archive, and over one hundred animal organizations have benefited from her photography, many of which continue to work closely with Jo-Anne on stories, investigations, campaigns and humane education.

Her work has been featured in many books and publications such as National Geographic, Elle Canada, Canadian Geographic, DAYS Japan, Helsingin Sanomat, Photolife, PDN Online, the Huffington Post, Earth Island Journal, Point of View, Alternatives Journal and Canadian Dimension.

Jo-Anne is the subject of filmmaker Liz Marshall’s acclaimed documentary “The Ghosts In Our Machine” and her first book, also entitled We Animals, was published by Lantern Books in 2013.

Recent awards and accolades include the Institute for Critical Animal Studies Media Award; More Magazine’s Fierce List; 2013 Toronto Compassion for Animals Award; one of CBC’s Top 50 Champions of Change; Farm Sanctuary’s 2010 “Friend of Farm Animals” award; HuffPost WOMEN’s “Top 10 Women trying to change the world”, and one of 20 activists featured in the book The Next Eco Warrior.

Jo-Anne hails from Toronto, Canada…and loves spending a bit of down time there, when she can! She is excited to be releasing her second book, Captive, this spring which documents animals living in captivity across five continents.

Speakers and Moderators

Jessica Blome, Contract Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund  

Jessica Blome serves as a contract attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Prior to Jessica’s current endeavors, she served as the senior staff attorney for ALDF where she led counsel in the organization’s campaigns against Wildlife Services and the notorious Cricket Hollow Zoo.  In both of these major campaigns for ALDF, Jessica was able to bring people together to fight against animal cruelty and even litigated the first-ever successful claim for the unlawful take of captive endangered tigers and lemurs at the Cricket Hollow Zoo under the Endangered Species Act.

Before Jessica joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund, she spent six years as an Assistant Attorney General in Missouri, where she worked to ensure effective enforcement of state environmental and animal welfare laws. Because of her incredible work in Missouri, she was recognized in both 2010 and 2012 for Outstanding Achievement at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. She also created the Canine Cruelty Prevention Unit, through which she prosecuted a number of cases to shut down hundreds of puppy mills. Jessica holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.

David Casselman, Principal, Casselman Law Group, Founder of Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary

David Casselman is the founding partner of Casselman Law Group, based in California, and the founder of Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary.  His legal expertise is in prosecution and defense of complex litigation matters, while also dedicating his time and efforts to numerous pro bono cases involving animal protection.  After David acted as the lead trial counsel in two of the top ten largest verdicts in the State of California in 2001, he went on to maintain the title of Southern California Super Lawyer from 2005 to 2016.  David is an adjunct Professor of Insurance Law at Southwestern Law and trial advocacy at West Los Angeles School of Law, as well as being one of the original co-authors  of the three-volume “California Practice Guide: Insurance Litigation.”

In 2007, David sued the Los Angeles Zoo, alleging that the Zoo’s treatment of elephants was illegal and injurious, resulting in premature death and loss of public property.  A major victory on behalf of elephants in zoos, the Los Angeles Zoo is now required to regularly exercise elephants and rototill exhibit soil, as well as being prohibited from using cruel bullhooks. In connection with this matter, on March 8, 2017, David will argue before the California Supreme Court defending the lower court’s ruling that California taxpayers should have standing to address and enjoin animal cruelty issues, like the LA Zoo Elephant case.

Hannah Connor, Staff Attorney, Center for Biological Diversity

Hannah Connor is an attorney in the Environmental Health Program at the Center for Biological Diversity.  She works to address threats to endangered species, wild places, workers, and communities from industrial agriculture, chemical pollution, and destructive mining operations.  Hannah has written, presented, and litigated extensively on matters related to industrial animal agriculture, focusing largely on transparency, public health, and harms to air and water quality.  Additionally, she has worked to aid communities across the country faced with the unsustainable growth and expansion of the animal agriculture industry.

Hannah holds a B.S. from Boston College and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.  Prior to joining the Center for Biological Diversity, Hannah spent five years in the Animal Protection Litigation section of the Humane Society of the United States.  Before that, she was an attorney with the Waterkeeper Alliance.  She holds a faculty appointment with the American University Washington College of Law and, among other publications, authored a chapter in Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Law, the first textbook to explore the challenging political and societal issues facing agricultural policy and modern food systems through the lens of environmental protection laws.

Carter Dillard, Senior Policy Advisor, Animal Legal Defense Fund

As Senior Policy Advisor for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Carter is focused on helping the organization file and win civil lawsuits that liberate animals. Driven by his belief that animal protection is a critical form of social justice, Carter has dramatically expanded the Litigation Program’s capacity within just a few years. Under Carter’s leadership, the program has quadrupled its number of filings and achieved groundbreaking successes including judgments, settlements and precedent that replaced negligent management at public shelters, ended systematic abuses at factory farms and hunting facilities, rescued wildlife from roadside zoos, improved standing for animal advocates and halted false advertising used to sell animal products.

Carter began his career as an Honors Program appointee to the U.S. Department of Justice and later served as a legal advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the National Security Law Division. He has taught on the faculties or held appointments at University of Oxford, Lewis and Clark Law School, Emory University School of Law, and Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law. He holds a B.A. from Boston College, a J.D., Order of the Coif and with honors, from Emory University, and an LL.M. from New York University where he wrote his thesis—on a deeply theorized right to have children—under Jeremy Waldron. Carter has written a dozen articles, including peer-reviewed pieces, on animal protection and human population ethics.

Kelsey Eberly, Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Kelsey Eberly assists the Animal Legal Defense Fund with its cases and projects.  She graduated from UCLA Law School in May 2014, where she focused on animal, environmental, and administrative law.  While attending law school, Kelsey was the chair of the UCLA Animal Law Society, which served as its Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter.  She has earned a graduate certificate in Animal Policy and Advocacy from Humane Society University.  In 2006, she received a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Middlebury College, with a double major in English and Spanish.

Kelsey is a former clerk for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and before that served as a legal intern with Compassion Over Killing.  She has concentrated her academic study on the abuse of factory farmed animals and is interested in the international trade of exotic animals, the free speech rights of animal advocates, and the humane management of urban wildlife.

Camilla Fox, Founder & Executive Director of Project Coyote

Camilla H. Fox is the founder and executive director of Project Coyote–a national non-profit organization based in northern California that promotes coexistence between people and wildlife and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. With 20 years of experience working on behalf of wildlife and wildlands and a master’s degree in wildlife ecology, policy, and conservation, Camilla’s work has been featured in several films, books and national media outlets. A frequent speaker on these issues, Camilla has authored more than 70 publications and is co-author of Coyotes in Our Midst, co-editor and lead author of the book, Cull of the Wild, producer of the award-winning documentary Cull of the Wild ~ The Truth Behind Trapping and most recently, producer and director of the film Unfair Game: Ending Wildlife Killing Contests.

Camilla has served as an appointed member on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee and currently serves on several national non-profit advisory boards.  In 2006, Camilla received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Marin Humane Society and the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. She was named one of the 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet in 2013 and the 2014 Conservationist of the Year Award by the John Muir Association. In 2015 she was honored with the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award by the Fund for Wild Nature.

Lindsay Larris, Los Angeles Regional Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

As the Los Angeles Regional Director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Lindsay Larris works closely with the community, acting as a lawyer, event planner, supporter liaison and speaker all in a day’s work.  Lindsay develops objectives specific to the Los Angeles region and coordinates regional resources to support the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s national goals.  Lindsay is proud of her role in persuading the California Coastal Commission to ban future breeding of orcas at SeaWorld San Diego, leading to SeaWorld’s voluntary declaration that it would end all orca breeding. Prior to joining the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Lindsay spent seven years practicing civil litigation in the LA area, working on environmental litigation, trust and estate litigation and international arbitration.

Lindsay graduated from University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2007 after graduating cum laude from New York University in 2003 with a degree in Political Science.  While a law student, Lindsay co-founded the Journal of Animal Law and Ethics, helped bring an animal law clinic to Penn Law and served as president of her Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter.

Matthew Liebman, Director of Litigation, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Matthew Liebman is Director of Litigation for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and works on all aspects of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s civil cases.  He has litigated cases including ALDF v. Otter, the first lawsuit to successfully invalidate an Ag-Gag law; Bennett v. McDaniel, which rescued a captive bear from a small concrete cage where she had languished for 16 years; and ALDF v. Conyerswhich resulted in the rescue of more than 100 dogs from a North Carolina hoarder. Matthew’s writing has appeared in the Animal Law Review, the Journal of Animal Law, the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and the Animal Legal & Historical Web Center. With Bruce Wagman, Matthew co-authored A Worldview of Animal Law, which examines how the legal systems of different countries govern our interactions with animals.

Previously, Matthew clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Matthew graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School in 2006 and with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 with a degree in philosophy. While a law student at Stanford, Matthew co-founded a chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and was an active member of Animal Rights on the Farm, where he worked on campaigns against factory farming and vivisection.

Mari Margil, Associate Director, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Mari Margil is the Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), where she leads the organization’s International Center for the Rights of Nature.  CELDF has assisted the first communities in the United States to secure the rights of nature in law, and is representing the first ecosystems to defend those rights.  Margil assisted Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly to draft rights of nature constitutional provisions.  In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to recognize these rights.  She is now working in Nepal, India, Australia, and other countries – as well as tribal nations – to advance rights of nature frameworks.

Margil received her Master’s degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  She is a co-author of several books, including The Public Health or the Bottom Line and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.

Damon Nagami, Senior Attorney and Director, Southern California Ecosystems Project, Natural Resources Defense Council

Damon Nagami is a Senior Attorney and director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Southern California Ecosystems Project, which focuses on wildlife preservation, parkland protection, and sustainable land use planning.  Most recently, he has been fighting to prevent a toll road from paving over California’s San Onofre State Beach and working with wildlife advocacy groups and ranchers to promote nonlethal methods of reducing conflicts between livestock and wolves in northern California.

Damon also directs NRDC’s Community Fracking Defense Project, which helps local residents across the country exercise their democratic voice to protect their communities from the harms of industrial fracking.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.

Nicole Pallotta, Academic Outreach Manager, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Nicole has been with the Animal Legal Defense Fund since 2005, first as student programs coordinator – overseeing the expansion of the student chapter network to more than 200 chapters and managing clerkship, scholarship, and project grant programs – and currently as academic outreach manager. In this capacity, she develops and manages initiatives that support the continued advancement of animal law in academia, including expanded course offerings at law schools and educational resources and opportunities that advance ALDF’s mission.

Prior to joining the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Nicole earned a Ph.d. in sociology from the University of Georgia, where she developed and taught the school’s first Animals & Society course. Her dissertation was titled, “Becoming an animal rights activist: An exploration of culture, socialization, and identity transformation.” Her writing has appeared in Society & Animals, Sociological PerspectivesAnimal Wellness Magazine, and the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, among others. She is also the author of the blog Alec’s Story (alec-story.com). Nicole lives in Portland, Oregon, with her best friend Teagan, a little German shepherd with a big heart.

Jeff Pierce, Contract Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Jeff Pierce performs work as a contract attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, collaborating with the organization’s several programs to structure and implement legislative priorities. He joined the Animals Legal Defense Fund in 2013 as a Litigation Fellow, developing and bringing lawsuits under various causes of action including the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, and continues to maintain a litigation docket in addition to his legislative responsibilities.

Jeff earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School (2013) where, as a SALDF (Student Animal Legal Defends Fund) member, he oversaw his chapter’s pro bono efforts and conducted legal research for the nonprofit Compassion Over Killing. Jeff clerked for the Animal Legal Defense Fund while a law student and served as Editor-in-Chief of Stanford’s Journal of Animal Law and Policy. In addition to law, Jeff studied biology at Duke University (2001), where he graduated summa cum laude, and theology at Yale University (2006). As a Fulbright Scholar in Swaziland, southern Africa (2002), Jeff researched the impact of commercial forestry on rural communities and wildlife.

Dan Rohlf, Professor of Law and Of Counsel at Earthrise Law Center at Lewis and Clark Law School

Professor Dan Rohlf teaches Wildlife Law, Law, Science and the Environment Seminar, Sustainability in Law and Business, and other courses in Lewis and Clark Law School’s environmental and natural resources program.  He also works with the law school’s environmental LL.M. program, teaching the Environmental Law LL.M. Seminar.  Originally trained as a geologist, Dan’s expertise includes endangered species law and policy, wildlife law, and ecosystem management.  He received his B.A. in geology from Colorado College and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Dan is a co-founder of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, now Earthrise Law Center, Lewis and Clark’s domestic environmental law clinic.  Under the supervision of Professor Rohlf, Earthrise Law Center gives law students the chance to work on administrative and judicial actions which affect the environment of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  Most of the work by Earthrise focuses on the protection of endangered species.  Dan’s personal research and publications have mainly centered around conservation of biological diversity.  He is the author of The Endangered Species Act: A Guide to Its Protections and Implementation, which won the National Wildlife Federation book award.

Joyce Tischler, Founder and General Counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Joyce Tischler, affectionately known as “the Mother of Animal Law,” is the founder of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and was executive director for twenty-five years. Currently, as general counsel, Joyce is responsible for in-house legal matters, as well as writing, lecturing on and promoting the field of animal law. She has been called a visionary, a leader, an inspiration, and a role model—she is that and so much more. She’s also an exceptional attorney.

As a young lawyer working for a Bay Area law firm, Joyce began doing volunteer work for the Fund for Animals, through which she met Laurence Kessenick, a partner in a San Francisco law firm who shared her desire to protect animals and establish their legal rights. In 1979 they decided to see if anyone else shared their interest; they advertised in the local legal newspaper and at the first meeting, six other lawyers showed up. That was the start of Attorneys for Animal Rights, which changed its name to Animal Legal Defense Fund in 1984. Unwittingly, the Mother of Animal Law had given birth to a movement.

Joyce handled some of Animal Legal Defense Fund’s earliest cases, including the previously mentioned lawsuit that halted the U.S. Navy’s plan to kill 5,000 feral burros and a 1988 challenge to the U.S. Patent Office’s rule allowing the patenting of genetically altered animals. She has tackled such diverse topics as challenges to hunting and trapping using the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, standing to sue, animal custody battles, the right to kill animals pursuant to will provisions, landlord-tenant issues and damages and recovery for injury to or death of an animal.

Joyce is an internationally recognized speaker and author of numerous publications. In 2009, The American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Animal Law Committee honored Joyce with the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award. In 2010, Joyce was invited on a 12-day, seven-city speaking tour in Australia sponsored by father-daughter team Brian and Ondine Sherman of Voiceless – the Animal Protection Institute. One of her recent publications of influence is her double volume “A Brief History of Animal Law, Part II (1985-2011),” published in the Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy. In addition to her many publications, Joyce has been quoted far and wide, including in the New York Times, Science Magazine, Washington PostUSA TodayChristian Science Monitor, the Sydney Morning HeraldSunday TelegraphGuardian, and People magazine. She is currently co-writing two animal law books.

Sara Wan, WAN Conservancy Co-Founder, Former Chair of California Coastal Commission

Sara Wan, co-founder of WAN Conservancy, has worked over three decades in all areas surrounding the California coast, including as a member of the Coastal Commission, State Coastal Conservancy, and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  Sara has a B.S. in Biology from Vassar College, an M.S. in Zoology from Yale University, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from UC Irvine.  She is considered an expert in habitat and wetland issues, application of the Coastal Act and court decisions affecting its implementation, and Coastal Commission regulations, procedures, and permit history.  She also has taught classes on such subjects at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In 2003, Sara founded ORCA (Organization of Regional Coastal Activists), established to help coastal advocates network and represent the environmental community at Coastal Commission hearings.  Sara also founded Coastal Land Use Consultants, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in land use issues at California regulatory agencies.  In recognition of her contributions to public access and coastal protection, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy named the Sara Wan Trailhead in Corral Canyon in Malibu after her.

Stephen Wells, Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Stephen Wells is the executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. After serving as executive director of Alaska Wildlife Alliance for six years, Steve joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund in 1999 and immediately began laying groundwork for the organization’s growth. He created the Animal Law Program, which encourages the next generation of animal lawyers through a strong presence in law schools. He also created the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s pro bono attorney network that provides millions of dollars’ worth donated legal services every year. Steve also brought litigation work in-house enabling the organization to dramatically expand its caseload.

Under Steve’s leadership the Animal Legal Defense Fund has grown on all fronts, from a small group with $3 million in revenue and a staff of 16, to an organization of over 50 highly efficient, passionate, and talented staff members and annual revenue and support in excess of $10 million.

As Steve says, it is his job to create an environment where egos are out the door and everyone works together toward one end—winning legal victories that protect animals. And that is just what he has done. Steve lives in the western woodlands of Sonoma County, California with his dog Eve and cat Ocho. As a nationally-recognized expert on animal protection issues, Steve has been interviewed by CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ESPN and regularly blogs for the Huffington Post and the Dodo.

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