Legally Brief

Legally Brief: Animal Law Conference 2016

On the weekend of Oct. 7, 2016 the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School and the Lewis & Clark Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter hosted the 24th annual Animal Law Conference in New York City. The event brought together students, attorneys and experts with one common goal: to make the world a better place for animals through the legal system. Animal Law might still be a new field, but there’s a high demand to learn more about it. Yet again, this year’s conference was sold out well ahead of the big weekend.

The conference kicked off with an evening reception at the Manhattan Penthouse, near Union Square. Guests enjoyed plant-based appetizers while the Animal Legal Defense Fund honored pro bono attorneys and law firms Morgan Hector; Deb Robinson; Dentons US LLP; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Winston & Strawn LLP who offered invaluable help with our cases in the past year. Recent law school grad, Priscilla Rader, and current law student, Raj Reddy, accepted the SALDF Chapter of the Year award on behalf of the Lewis & Clark Law School SALDF chapter for their outstanding work to engage fellow students in animal law projects and events.

Throughout the weekend attendees had a chance to hear about a number of legal issues affecting animals today. Keynote speaker Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman Rights Project, spoke of his ongoing efforts to seek legal personhood for nonhuman animals, highlighting his work on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York state. Other panels explored the first amendment’s important role in the litigation of animal protection work, the challenges surrounding military working dogs and their handlers and new approaches to helping captive wildlife, among others. You can view each presentation on the Animal Law Conference YouTube page.

Attorneys and activists from around the country were able to network and learn about new strategies they can implement in their own cases. Law students got to see firsthand how they can advance the interests of animals in the future.

We’re grateful to all of this year’s speakers and attendees for making our conference such a success. And a big thank you to our sponsors: Donor Point Marketing, The Moxie Foundation and RKD Alpha Dog, and in-kind sponsors: Beyond Meat, Happy Cow and Janet Holmes.

Conference attendees were the first to hear some big news: our venue for next year’s Animal Law Conference will accommodate many more guests. We’ll be back in Portland, Oregon the weekend of Oct. 13-15, 2017, and it’s sure to be one of the biggest, most exciting Animal Law Conferences yet. Make sure to watch and follow the Animal Law Conference on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates.