Animal Law SJD Admissions

Animal Law SJD Program Qualifications & Application Process

The application window for the ’24-’25 academic year has closed. Please check back for the ’25-’26 window to open.


Admission to the Animal Law SJD program is highly competitive. Given the time and individual attention that Animal Law SJD candidates receive, the Animal Law Program limits admissions to a small number of candidates each year. Applicants must be graduates of an accredited U.S. or international law school, present an excellent academic record, as well as strong legal research and writing skills, and demonstrate a genuine interest in advancing the field of animal law.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must hold a law degree that qualifies them to practice law in their home country. U.S. applicants generally satisfy this requirement with a JD, with a JD from an ABA-accredited law school being highly preferred. International applicants usually satisfy this requirement with an LLB; however, other legal degrees may also qualify. International applicants should confirm their eligibility by ensuring their degree is listed here. In addition to this requirement, SJD candidates must hold an advanced law degree—specifically an LLM degree, though the focus of the LLM need not be animal law.

Membership in a bar is not necessary for admission. CALS welcomes and encourages applications from international law school graduates who wish to learn more about animal law in the U.S. legal system and how the U.S. framework compares to and can help to effect change in legal systems abroad. Although the program features a mandatory Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course for international candidates, the Animal Law SJD program is not intended to prepare international students for U.S. practice or to sit for a state bar exam.

Applications are evaluated holistically. Factors taken into consideration include each applicant’s scholarly capacity, experience, and achievements as a lawyer, academic performance, the rigor of their research, work history, strength of references, merit of their dissertation proposal, and engagement with animal law issues. Highly competitive candidates will be interviewed by the SJD Admissions Committee.

Application Materials

Applicants are asked to supply:

  • A statement of interest (up to 1,000 words);
  • Writing sample (of at least 40 pages but no more than 60 pages);
  • A resume or CV (up to 8 pages);
  • Dissertation Proposal (up to 10 pages);
  • Transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended; and
  • Two letters of recommendation.
  • Demonstration of English proficiency for international applicants whose native language is not English. This requirement can be met in one of the following ways:
    1. if English was the primary language of their university education and the official language of the country in which the university is located;
    2. if English was the primary language of their university education and if their university is accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency;
    3. a minimum IELTS score of 8; or
    4. a minimum internet-based TOEFL score of 100.

Application Deadlines

The application deadline is February 1. The Animal Law SJD program admits students for the Fall term only. Subsequent application cycles normally open in November of the prior year.

Admissions Decisions

The Admissions Committee reviews applications only once the application deadline has passed and contacts applicants within 2-3 months. Highly competitive candidates will be extended an opportunity to interview with the SJD Admissions Committee. For efficiency and environmental reasons, email is used for all communication.


If you have additional questions about our admissions process, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions page. If your question is not addressed there or if you would like additional information, please contact the Coordinator of the Animal Law Program, Danielle Lopez, at

ABA Accreditation and Anti-Discrimination Statement

Lewis & Clark Law School is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Lewis & Clark adheres to a nondiscriminatory policy with respect to employment, enrollment, and program. Lewis  &  Clark does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, age, marital status, national origin, the presence of any physical or sensory disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state, and local laws, and has a firm commitment to promote the letter and spirit of all equal opportunity and civil rights laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, as well as their implementing regulations. Questions regarding Title IX may be directed to one of Lewis & Clark’s Title IX coordinators ( or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. We encourage applications from persons in groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession.