Student Chapter Spotlight

California Chapters: Working Together to Create the Annual California Symposium on Animal Law

On September 13 2014, California Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters came together to create the Second Annual California Symposium on Animal Law.

The Symposium took place at UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco and was the result of collaboration between 12 chapters across the state. It was supported by a generous project grant from the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter parent organization, Animal Legal Defense Fund.

With over 20 diverse panelists and a sold-out crowd, the entirely student-run 2014 Symposium was a huge success, and provided attendees with an overview of contemporary issues in animal protection law. Panel topics included horse protection, environmentalism and cross-movement activism, animal experimentation, careers in animal law, animals in entertainment, international law, farmed animals and the agriculture industry, and more. CLE credit was available for attorneys attending the event.

Animal Legal Defense Fund staff who participated as guest panelists included Joyce Tischler (founder and general counsel), Matthew Liebman (senior attorney), Chris Berry (staff attorney), and Jeff Pierce (litigation fellow). Nicole Pallotta, Animal Legal Defense Fund’s student programs coordinator, was also in attendance to network with Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter’s members.

Keynote speakers included Nathan Runkle, founder and executive director of Mercy for Animals, and award-winning journalist David Grimm, author of Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs, who also did a book reading at a special cocktail reception following the day’s panels and closing remarks.

One of the organizers’ goals this year was to increase the number of regional Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters collaborating on the symposium. This goal was met, with almost double the number of chapters participating this year compared to 2013. Participating Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters came from the following 12 California law schools:

  • Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco
  • John F. Kennedy University College of Law in Pleasant Hill
  • University of La Verne College of Law in Ontario
  • Loyola Law School in Los Angeles
  • Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara
  • Stanford Law School in Palo Alto
  • UC Berkeley School of Law in Berkeley
  • UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco
  • UC Irvine School of Law in Irvine
  • UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento
  • Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa

Coordinating this multi-chapter event took a herculean effort from its central coordinating chapter, Golden Gate University (GGU) Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter, led by chapter officers Camille Glover Stough, Kelly Murray, and Sara Dudley.

GGU Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter began their work in early spring for the fall conference, with the primary task of inviting chapters to host their own panels. For other chapters interested in planning a regional event, Camille advises that “[t]he best way to get chapters involved is to contact them individually with a focus on how each chapter can benefit from participating. They don’t always realize how many people you can meet, both peers and mentors, and the professional opportunities available to them from being part of a collaborative event.”

Organizing this multi-chapter event gave the Animal Legal Defense Fund Student members from different schools a unique opportunity to meet each other and share ideas. The Symposium also provided a forum for law professionals and students to learn, network, and be inspired to advocate for animal protection in California and beyond.

This student chapter spotlight was submitted by Megan Miller, Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter regional representative for the San Francisco Bay Area and president of the UC Hastings Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapters.

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