Where Should You Go To Law School?

Several schools offer at least one animal law class. Today, there are over 140 animal classes being offered at law schools around the country, and this list continues to grow. Comparing this number with 2001, when there were only nine classes, you will get a good idea of how rapidly this field is emerging. In addition to considering animal law courses, you may also want to attend a school that has established a Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapter. Currently, there are over 190 SALDF chapters in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Similar to the number of animal law classes, this list is growing all the time. Besides researching which schools offer animal law classes and have SALDF chapters, the best advice is to get a well-rounded legal education, as animal law intersects many traditional areas of the law such as torts, constitutional law, criminal law, wills and trusts, contract law, and family law.

Many students wonder whether they should attend a more prestigious, highly ranked law school that has neither an animal law course nor an SALDF chapter over a less well-ranked school that may have one or both of these things. This is an individual decision that each person must answer for themselves based on their financial situation, plans after law school, career goals, and many other factors. Our advice is to get the best education that suits your individual circumstances. Even if the school you choose to attend does not have an animal law course, you can help facilitate getting one added to the curriculum. Additionally, you can establish an SALDF chapter if your school does not already have one. Regarding which electives to take while in law school, this will depend upon your interests and where you would like to focus your practice. “Animal Law,” as stated above, is relevant to almost every conventional area of the law. For more information, view our Animal Law 101 tutorial.

Finally, Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, has been a leader in animal law since the early 1990s and currently offers the most extensive program in animal law studies. ALDF has launched the Center for Animal Law Studies, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lewis and Clark Law School. As an academic and practical forum for the burgeoning field of animal law, the Center for Animal Law Studies provides essential programs and services for law students under the guidance of experienced animal law professors and ALDF attorneys. The Center is the only legal and academic think tank and training program in the world for students interested in animal law. Lewis and Clark Law School offers many summer courses in animal law. This is a great way to expand your knowledge of animal law beyond what may be offered at your school. Lewis and Clark Law School also offers a Certificate in Animal Law for its students through the Environmental Law Program, and the world’s first LL.M. in Animal Law.

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