School navigation

Law Courses Catalog

Nonprofit Animal Law

NOTE: This course description is new for the 2017-2018 academic year. You may read the prior course description immediately below the new one. 

2017-2018

The course covers general nonprofit legal topics: establishment of a nonprofit, creation and preservation of 501(c)3 tax exempt status, risk management, nonprofit volunteers, employee issues, fundraising, tax issues, hosting public events, privacy issues, and protection of intellectual property rights. The course also covers legal issues of particular interest to animal nonprofits: animal adoptions, care and transportation of live animals across state lines, disaster relief for animals, veterinary laws, property issues regarding rescued animals, lobbying for animal protection laws and prosecution of animal cruelty cases.

This is a seminar course with a heavy emphasis on real world situations and professional responsibility situations an animal lawyer is likely to face. It examines different roles that lawyers interested in animal protection may encounter: volunteering or working for nonprofits; giving legal advice to nonprofits; or serving directly as counsel.

Grades: This class has a writing assignment along with a final exam. The writing assignment involves drafting a document for a hypothetical animal nonprofit, stresses writing in plain English, and satisfies the WIE requirement. A limited number of students who want to write their Capstone project in the field of animal law can substitute a Capstone paper. The writing assignment is 45% of the course grade. The final exam is 45% of the grade. Class participation makes up the remaining 10% of the grade. The final exam is given as an “unscheduled exam”, giving students flexibility in scheduling the exam around other commitments.

NOTE: The below course description applied prior to the 2017-2018 academic year.

This course explores the legal issues inherent in organizing and operating an animal welfare non-profit organization. This course is taught from the practical perspective of a lawyer advising these non-profits. In particular, those non-profits involved in the rescue, transport, sheltering, care and placement of animals; investigation and assistance in animal cruelty prosecutions, and lobbying for animal protection laws. This course examines legal issues presented by these activities and illustrates how to apply traditional general counsel concerns such as risk management, employment issues, statutory compliance, and protection of property interests, to situations such as using volunteers to transport animals across state lines, rescuing animals immediately after a natural disaster, and assisting in prosecuting animal cruelty.


This is a seminar course with a heavy emphasis on class discussion. 

Grades:

This class has a writing assignment along with a final exam. The writing assignment is drafting a document that would be typically used by an animal welfare non-profit. The writing assignment will not satisfy the WIE requirement. The writing assignment is 45% of the course grade. The final exam is 45% of the grade with class participation making up the remaining 10%.  The final exam is given as an “unscheduled exam”, giving students flexibility in scheduling the exam around other commitments.