A Giant Step Forward for Animals

Posted on January 9, 2009

ALDF strengthens collaboration with Lewis & Clark Law School

Leaping catTiming, as the saying goes, is everything. And with animal law stories grabbing headlines around the world in the last year, now is the ideal time for a new kind of approach to animal law – and a new education center to support it.

That’s why ALDF is proud to help launch the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Lewis & Clark Law School of Portland, Oregon. Stephen Wells, executive director for ALDF, and Robert Klonoff, Dean and Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark, officially announced the launch of the Center at the law school’s 16th-annual animal law conference in October.

As an academic and practical forum for the burgeoning field of animal law, the Center for Animal Law Studies will develop and provide essential programs and services for law students under the guidance of experienced animal law professors and ALDF attorneys. The Center’s Litigation Clinic will be devoted to litigating cases that will advance the laws pertaining to animals and prevent or stop animal abuse. The Center’s Legislative Alliance will focus on identifying key animal protection legislative needs throughout the country, pairing students with appropriate legislators to research and draft new and better laws for animals and providing critical review and analysis of pending legislation.

The Center’s Legal Scholarship Project will create sophisticated animal law research and writing opportunities for publication in scholarly journals; the Job Center at the Center for Animal Law Studies will be devoted to identifying and creating professional opportunities for both law students and law graduates who are committed to putting their legal skills to work for animals; and the Center for Animal Law Studies’ national animal law conference, co-hosted with the Lewis & Clark Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter, will bring together prominent minds in the growing community of professionals and students in the field of animal law to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.

This Center represents the most ambitious step yet in a long history of cooperation between ALDF and Lewis & Clark going back more than 15 years. And with Pamela Frasch and her team at the helm, there is no doubt that this endeavor will be nothing but extraordinarily successful. In addition to Pam’s years of experience at ALDF prior to becoming the new Center’s Executive Director, Pam has been teaching animal law courses for the past 10 years at Lewis and Clark, she co-authored the first American legal casebook in the field, and she is a frequent lecturer at the national and international level regarding animal law issues.

In her keynote address at Lewis & Clark’s October animal law conference, ALDF founder Joyce Tischler said the law school was the ideal home for the new Center, recounting the singular contributions Lewis & Clark has made to the field of animal law. The first-ever SALDF chapter was founded at Lewis & Clark in 1993. Year after year, this chapter continues to be a powerful student group advocating for advancements in animal law. For example, the students of Lewis & Clark Law School, particularly the SALDF members, publish Animal Law, the first scholarly journal devoted to animal law issues. The college was also the site of the first advanced animal law seminar, the first animal law moot court competition, the first animal law summer school program and the first animal law conference hosted by a law school.

One Earth: Conference for Change

The Lewis & Clark Law School’s 16th-annual conference, held October 17-19 and dubbed “One Earth: Globalism & Animal Law,” was a sold-out event that attracted attorneys, law students, academics and animal advocates from around the world. In addition to ALDF’s Stephen Well and Joyce Tischler, featured presenters included Sarah Baeckler, SALDF alum and founding executive director of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest; Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary; David Favre, Michigan State University law professor; Scott Heiser, director of ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program; Stephan Otto, director of legislative affairs for ALDF; Kathy Hessler, a former ALDF board member who will serve as the clinical director of the Center for Animal Law Studies; and Nancy Perry, the Lewis & Clark Law School alum who founded the first SALDF chapter, now vice president of Government Affairs for the Humane Society of the United States – to name just a few.

Listen to podcast of the conference panels here.

Pamela Frasch is particularly enthusiastic about the scholarly environment the Center for Animal Law Studies engenders. “I like to think of the Center as a combination think tank and training ground for future generations of animal protection lawyers,” she says. “What makes it so special is that it is the first program of its kind in the world to unite strong legal scholarship with hands-on advocacy training, and it has the full support of the law school and ALDF. It’s a powerful combination.”

For more information about Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies, please visit http://www.lclark.edu/org/cals/