A New Center for Animal LawPosted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Execuctive Director on January 9, 2009
Sixteen years ago, an ambitious law student named Nancy Perry founded the first Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Little did she know that the birth of that chapter heralded not only the beginning of ALDF’s network of student chapters (which now number 130 in the US and Canada) but the beginning of a long and innovative relationship between Lewis & Clark and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Some other firsts at Lewis & Clark include the first annual animal law conference, publication of Animal Law, the first animal law journal, the first advanced animal law class, the first animal law moot court competition, and the first animal law legislative drafting competition. In every case, ALDF has provided resources and support for these developments.
This year the Animal Legal Defense Fund has again joined Lewis & Clark to launch the most ambitious undertaking to advance animal law yet: the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark, in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. ALDF has committed well over $1.2 million to the Center through 2010 and will work closely to develop collaborative programs through which law students can get hands-on involvement in animal law cases and other initiatives.
The Center would not have been possible without the full support of the new dean of Lewis & Clark Law School, Robert Klonoff, an incredibly accomplished lawyer and professor, who has advanced an inspired vision for the development of animal law studies at the school. Assistant Dean Janice Weis has also consistently supported and encouraged the growth of animal law studies at Lewis & Clark for almost 15 years.
But the key to the success of all the past and future animal law education programs at Lewis & Clark, or any law school, is the students. Without their passion for animal protection and their energy and enthusiasm none of these developments would be possible.
ALDF thanks Dean Klonoff, Assistant Dean Weis, Nancy Perry (who is now the Executive Vice President for Government Affairs at the Humane Society of the United States) and the many Lewis & Clark law students who followed her path and went on to blaze new ones. I look forward to what the next 16 years of collaboration will bring.