How Legal Professionals Can Get Involved in Animal Law
Animal Legal Defense Fund
While there has been extraordinary growth in this area, full-time animal law jobs are still relatively limited. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to make significant contributions to this field by either working as a volunteer for an organization or doing pro bono work at a firm. Below are suggestions for getting involved as a volunteer.
- Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Pro Bono Program and sign up for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Volunteer Attorney Network! We use volunteer attorneys to work on a variety of projects including research and citation checking, writing legal information guides, filing amicus briefs, litigating cases, and assisting prosecutors with animal cruelty cases.
- Contact a national or local animal protection organization or humane society and offer your help.
- Find out if your regional or state bar association has an animal law section or committee and get involved. If they do not, consider starting one. Contact us for information on how to start a section.
- Start an animal law organization with other legal professionals.
- Consider writing an article for your local newspaper, local bar journal, or animal law journal, such as Lewis and Clark Law School’s Animal Law Review.
- Write an op-ed to your local newspaper.
- Get involved with your local law school’s student chapter.
- Read Making Animal Law Your Career by Animal Legal Defense Fund founder Joyce Tischler and Animal Law and Your Practice by Pam Hart for more ideas.
- If you teach an animal law class, join the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s animal law instructor email list and the Animal Law Curriculum Portal, dedicated to and for law professors teaching animal law.
- If you are looking for a job in the field of animal law, check out our career advice for aspiring animal law attorneys and our employment and fellowship listings.
- Participate in Speak Out for Farmed Animals Week.
Additionally, doing pro bono work at a law firm is how many attorneys are able to contribute to the field of animal law. Below are suggestions for persuading a firm to allow pro bono animal law related opportunities:
- Let the firm know of your interest in animal law early on.
- Be prepared to show that animal law is a recognized area of the law. This can be done by showing that over 150 law schools in the U.S. and Canada offer an animal law course.
- Include information on other law firms that are currently doing animal law pro bono work. Check out the Animal Legal Defense Fund Attorney Member Spotlights to see what pro bono work other attorneys and firms have done recently.
- Highlight the fact that because animal law is an emerging field, there is an opportunity to set new legal precedent.
Questions? Contact the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Pro Bono Program at ProBono@aldf.org.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced the expansion of its Animal Law Course Grant Program to allow accredited law schools to apply for $5,000 grants to fund new introductory and advanced animal law courses, or existing courses that are in danger of being cancelled due to budget cuts.March 1, 2021 Press Release
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and its co-plaintiffs, denying an attempt by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to dismiss a lawsuit against the agency.February 23, 2021 Press Release
A Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) bill, S.2868/A.4533, which would allow law students and volunteer lawyers to advocate for animal victims in cruelty criminal cases, unanimously passed the New Jersey Senate. The bill is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and endorsed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.February 19, 2021 Press Release