Chicago-Kent College of Law: Getting an Animal Law Course Added to the CurriculumNovember 1st, 2007
recently, there was not an animal law course being taught at
Chicago-Kent College of Law; the Chicago-Kent SALDF made it their goal
to change this. Using a variety of advocacy efforts, including
petitioning, raising awareness, and networking with interested faculty,
the chapter was able to convince the administration to add an animal
law class to the curriculum. With the addition of this course, which
will be offered for the first time in spring semester 2008, animal law
courses are now being offered at all of the Chicago area law
The Chicago-Kent SALDF started with a student petition, printed off the ALDF website, and circulated it throughout the school. Students were urged to sign it if they thought an animal law course would be a valuable addition to the law school curriculum. After obtaining approximately 250 signatures, the SALDF members brought the petition to the Dean of Students, who was very receptive to the idea. Students were assured that the course would be offered if a suitable instructor were found.
After several months with no word about the course, SALDF members began to seek out potential instructors on their own. Among those who were contacted were local animal law attorneys, professors at surrounding schools, and Chicago-Kent professors who showed an interest in SALDF activities or animals. SALDF members once again brought the proposal to the Dean of Students, this time with a list of well-suited instructors. The meeting was a success and as a result, SALDF members are looking forward to taking the course in spring semester 2008. The course will be taught by Keith Harley, a well respected environmental law professor and head of the Environmental Law Legal Clinic at Chicago-Kent.
According to Chicago-Kent SALDF president Heather Owen, establishing a contact with Professor Harley proved to be an extremely important aspect of creating the course. Not only did his willingness to teach the course help it to be offered, but he also signed her on as a research assistant to help mold the course to fit the students’ interests. By establishing a link to the SALDF members, the course has expanded to include a variety of topics that represent student interest as well as current developments in animal law. In addition to creating a new course, Professor Harley has offered to take on animal related cases in the environmental law clinic, if interest is shown.
For more information about getting an animal law course added to the curriculum at your school, visit the ALDF website here.