Animal Law at the 111th Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting

Posted by Nicole Pallotta, Academic Outreach Manager on January 12, 2017

The Animal Legal Defense Fund attended the 111th Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Jan. 4-7, 2016, where “thousands of law faculty, deans, administrators, and scholars gather each year to connect and collaborate with colleagues, discuss critical and emerging legal issues, and attend programs focused on fresh perspectives on law and legal education.” Under the theme “Why Law Matters,” the conference featured over 250 sessions on varied topics, including animal law.


At our booth in the exhibit hall we connected with the legal community and shared information about the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s academic resources with law professors interested in teaching animal law, career services counselors whose students are curious about opportunities in the field, and anyone with an interest in protecting animals.

We hosted our 10th Annual Animal Law Reception at AALS on Friday evening, which gave conference attendees and local law professionals an opportunity to mingle with colleagues from the animal law community, meet Animal Legal Defense Fund staff and learn more about our work. During the reception, Executive Director Stephen Wells presented an overview of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission and recent victories for animals, followed by a screening of our Advances for Animals in 2016 video.

The field of animal law has undergone tremendous academic growth since we first attended AALS in 2005. At that time, around 50 law schools had offered a course in animal law. Today, that number has grown to more than 160 schools. And since then, two law schools — Lewis & Clark and Harvard — have launched full-fledged animal law programs. A pioneer in the field since 2008, Lewis & Clark Law School’s robust Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), in collaboration with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, offers the world’s first LLM degree in animal law, a summer animal law program, and more than 30 courses in animal law, while the newer Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program offers academic fellowships, courses and more. In addition to the two animal law clinics currently operating at Lewis & Clark and the University of Buffalo, Michigan State University College of Law, already home to the Animal Legal & Historical Web Center, will launch its new Animal Welfare Clinic later this year.

As the only organization dedicated to protecting animals through the legal system, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud to continue fostering the growth of the field of animal law. Keep an eye on our event page or sign up for our law professional or law student e-newsletters to stay in the loop on animal law events happening in your area!

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