I Paarked the Caar in Haarvaard Yaard

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF Founder and General Counsel on February 9, 2010

Still groggy from the cross-country airplane ride, I exited San Francisco Airport yesterday, thankful to be home after several days in the freezing temperatures of Cambridge, Massachusetts. I felt a sense of freedom as I threw my heavy winter coat into the trunk of my car and replaced my heavy socks and boots with a pair of flip flops. A few days in frigid temperatures reminded me to be thankful for the mild winters of California!

But, that’s not what took me to Cambridge. It is a charming town, reminiscent of parts of London, with beautiful churches, fascinating old cemeteries and brick sidewalks. It’s also the home of Harvard Law School and once again, this past weekend, in the dead of the New England winter, the Harvard Student Animal Legal Defense Fund played gracious host to the annual National Animal Law Competitions (NALC) sponsored by the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), a program that Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud of. In addition to funding the competitions, most of ALDF’s staff attorneys served as judges and jurors throughout the weekend.

For me, the National Animal Law Competitions, or as I refer to it, the Harvard Moot Court, is an opportunity to spend precious time with dear old friends, like Steve Wise and Valerie Stanley, colleagues who have helped to build the animal law movement from its earliest days, as well as to cement relationships with legal talents such as Prof. David Cassuto of Pace Law School and Susan Hightower, adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

But most of all, this is a celebration of the newest generation of animal law advocates: the law students who spent so many hours preparing for these competitions, and who refused to bow under the pressure of our relentless prodding and questioning. This year, Bruce Wagman, and Matthew Liebman of ALDF drafted a masterful legal problem for the students to tackle in the Moot Court competition. They created a hypothetical (but all too realistic) plan by the federal Bureau of Land Management to remove an entire herd of wild horses from its range. I had great fun peppering the students with tough questions and assessing how they responded. In an exhausting one and a half days, I served on five separate panels of judges, including the nail-biting final round of the competition, and judged a total of ten teams of students. Even though the facts and legal issues were the same in all rounds, I was astonished at how each team and each student had a fresh and distinctly different approach to arguing the problem. Helping to train these students is an important part of our work and I feel blessed and honored to be a part of it. When the Steve Wises and Joyce Tischlers of animal law are a distant memory, these students will carry on, winning cases that protect animals and establish their legal rights.  

So, before I sink back into jet-lagged unconsciousness, I want to send out a big thank you to Pam Frasch, Kathy Hessler and Laura Handzel of CALS for their many months of preparation, Liberty Mulkani, our conference coordinator extraordinaire, and Justinian Doreste (my hero) and the Harvard SALDF chapter for the boots on the ground work they did to make this event run so smoothly. Hats off to Bruce and Matthew for the Moot Court problem, to Scott Heiser and Megan Senatori for the Closing Argument problem and to all of our colleagues who gave of their time and talents to serve as judges. And, of course, thanks to all of the students who competed–you rock!

Appellate Moot Court Competition
Winner: Angelina Zon & Joseph Grant, Florida Coastal School of Law
2nd Place: Mark Billingsley & Bryan Telegin, Lewis & Clark Law School
Semi-Finalist Teams:
Rexena Napier & Lauren Bean, University of Louisville, Brandeis
School of Law and Tara Kinman & John Verheul, University of New
Mexico School of Law
Best Brief (Winner): Annie Beck & David Louie, South Texas School of Law
Best Brief Finalist (2nd Place): Angelina Zon & Joseph Grant, Florida Coastal School of Law
Best Oralist: Nicholas Hudson, University of Washington School of Law

Closing Argument Competition
Winner: Anthony Sam, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago)
2nd Place: Erin Walkowiak, Lewis & Clark Law School
Finalists: Donyel Perry, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago) and Robyn Katz, Texas Tech School of Law

Legislative Drafting & Lobbying Competition
Winner: Eric Barker, George Washington University Law School
2nd Place: Lily Becker, University of Chicago Law School
Finalist: Rebecca Glenn, Temple University, Beasley School of Law


One thought on “I Paarked the Caar in Haarvaard Yaard

  1. Very good to hear such bright and eager youth will be there to carry on your impressive work. Wonderful blog Joyce, you rock!