There is Nothing Like an Ames

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on June 18, 2007

ALDF’s Future of Animal Law conference was held at Harvard Law School at the end of March.  We had assembled many of the most brilliant, vibrant and committed minds currently working on animal legal issues (and related animal issues) and they had come together to explore cutting edge, innovative ideas.

undefinedThe conference was sold out and the atmosphere was electric.  We gathered in Austin Hall, one of the oldest buildings in the U.S. still being used for the teaching of law. The Ames Courtroom, on the second floor, is a large and imposing room that overwhelms the senses, with its raised wooden stage for the judges (or panelists) to speak from, its dark wood paneling throughout most of the room and windows spanning the length and height of three walls, providing an abundance of natural sunlight. High above, on the ceiling are massive wooden beams, each one, as large as a tree trunk, which, oddly enough, are carved to look like the heads of snarling wolves.  

As I listened to the panelists, occasionally, I would glance up at those giant wooden beams, feeling a sense of wonder and satisfaction. I couldn’t help but feel that we had somehow brought life to those giant carvings: the wolves were in the courtroom, not simply as artwork, but as the subject of scholarly legal discussion.