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Animal Law Clinic

Student Testimonials

“Animal Law Clinic was one of the most valuable courses I took in law school. Through Clinic, unlike any other law school course, I dealt with real-world clients and real-world legal issues, and I learned lessons that I carry through to my job today. Clinic also provided a unique “safe” space for discussion and problem-solving—a safety net that new lawyers rarely have when dealing with legal issues for the first time. Professor Hessler is a true teacher and mentor who bridges current case issues with larger life lessons for a legal career and beyond. I would highly recommend the Animal Law Clinic to anyone who wants to gain real legal experience while still in law school, regardless of the legal field he/she plans to enter.”

- Lora Dunn, J.D. 2013

“As a practicing attorney, I believe that clinical experience is something that should be offered in any law school curriculum. The animal law clinic at Lewis and Clark, supervised by Professor Hessler, provides students with a degree of professional autonomy and responsibility that is otherwise unavailable to inexperienced attorneys during their first several years of practice. To me, this combination of doing important public work and obtaining significant experience in the field of animal law is invaluable.”

- Alena Eckhardt, LL.M. 2014

“I think this clinic offers practical experience for any student and is especially helpful for those students hoping to enter the animal law field after graduation. The opportunity to work for the very organizations that may hire us one day is very exciting. The skills we learn while working on actual issues in the animal law field are invaluable and give me a sense of what I may actually be doing for a career someday. Plus, having an excellent and extremely knowledgable professor is fantastic! I would definitely recommend the clinic to anyone interested in gaining experience in the animal law field.”

- Danielle Holt, LL.M. 2014

 “I highly recommend the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis and Clark College of Law.  The Clinic has not only given me practical legal experience in the area of Animal Law, but has also broadened my perspective about ways to approach problem solving within the legal system.  I am confident I will utilize these skills throughout my career.”

- Christina Kraemer, LL.M. 2014

“Participating in the Animal Law Clinic was the best decision I’ve made in preparing for both a career in animal law and as a lawyer in general.  I came to Lewis & Clark because I had always hoped to build a career in animal law.  I was aware of Lewis & Clark’s leadership in the field and wanted to participate in the Clinic specifically because I knew I would need real-world experience as a starting point for my future career.  During my time in the Clinic, I not only got to work with real clients on important animal law matters but I also learned new ways of approaching and handling the issues facing animals from a legal perspective.  From working with members of the community to find ways of addressing the negative effects of local industrial food animal operations to partnering with a national farm animal protection organization to file a federal petition for rulemaking with the United States Dep’t Agriculture, I developed confidence in my ability to meaningfully participate in the developing field of animal law. 

 The Animal Law Clinic provides a wonderful atmosphere for developing a student’s legal skills.  I was able to be a part of real-world animal law practice where I could interact with and provide representation to clients under the supervision of Professor Hessler.  Additionally, during the Clinic’s classroom component, I was able to collaborate, brainstorm and strategize with my fellow clinic students and Professor Hessler in an open and comfortable environment so that I could confidently and professionally develop ways to accomplish the goals of our clients and further legal protections for animals.  The Animal Law Clinic is the perfect opportunity for a student to gain practical experience while still having the benefit of mentorship and support on a step-by-step basis.  The Animal Law Clinic quickly immersed me into field of animal law and provided me the necessary tools to be both an effective and responsible lawyer and animal law practitioner.  As a result, I was able to extend my development through a fellowship with Clinic after graduation, which ultimately led to the fulltime animal law and advocacy position I was seeking when I enrolled at Lewis & Clark.”

- Alison Longley, Environmental LL.M.  2010

“My name is Jamie, and I am currently a 3L at Lewis and Clark, enrolled in the animal law clinic. I specifically came to Lewis and Clark because I was interested in animal law, and wanted to take the nation’s only animal law clinic. The decision became solidified when I first met with Kathy Hessler. She was warm and friendly, and welcoming, and I could tell that she was willing to accommodate students at all levels of their development. Since I have been enrolled in the clinic, I have participated in the early stages of research and strategy for litigation on the behalf of the clients we take on. The CALS clinic is in a unique position to position itself at the forefront of animal welfare, while at the same time teaching students how to be an effectual attorney in the field of animal law. I think it would be great if the animal law clinic expanded and was able to add litigation into its caseload. This would be beneficial to students because then they can see first-hand, what happens in a lawsuit. The clinic is a great way for students to get some practical experience in such a new developing field of law, and an expansion will only further the clinic’s goal of promoting animal welfare and student education. I highly recommend this experience to others.”

- Jamie P. South, J.D. 2014

“The Animal Law Clinic (ALC) allowed me to work on projects that made me proud and excited about my legal education. I explored several areas of law that I would not have had the opportunity to learn about were it not for the ALC. My experience in the ALC helped me secure my current job working for an animal advocacy organization, where I use the practical knowledge I gained in the ALC every day.”

- Michelle Pawliger, J.D. 2013

“The Animal Law Clinic was an invaluable part of my education at Lewis & Clark.  The Clinic provides a practical component to our studies and helps build confidence in students before graduation.  It also helps build relationships with the community and I recommend it to all animal law students.  Having a stronger litigation component and being able to accommodate more students would go a long way in training our future animal lawyers.”

- Mitzi Bolanos, LL.M. 2013

“I joined Animal Law Clinic in 2012 and found it to be a highly rewarding experience. Kathy Hessler is an intuitive professor who can gauge the amount of support each student needs. If a project seems especially challenging, she will lend a high level of support. If not, then the student can act as independently as she feels is appropriate. So too with the selection of the cases the student will take on. If a student has a project in mind, Professor Hessler is open to taking on that caseload. If a student is short on ideas, exciting cases are at the ready.

I handled two cases during my semester. One was what I would have expected because farm animals were the clients. Another was “surprisingly human,” to borrow Animal Planet TV’s slogan, because the animal welfare aspect was more indirect: a human client’s vegan diet was at issue. Each case was intriguing and worthwhile, and a noble cause to get behind.

I always looked forward to the weekly seminars because it gave me the opportunity to become familiar with even more interesting cases that my colleagues were working on, and because Professor Hessler always came prepared with a diversity of novel topics relevant to our study.

Animal advocates in law school like myself tend to focus on the animal welfare aspect of things rather than on the legal aspect. Animal Law Clinic is a unique opportunity to achieve one by means of the other. It’s the optimal way to assist in the practice of law while working to help our non-human animal, as well as our human, clients.

I recommend the Animal Law Clinic without reservation to anyone considering it.”

- Santiago Vazquez, J.D. 2012

“I had a great experience in Animal Law Clinic. I loved that I was able to work with actual clients and get real world experience. It was also a great networking opportunity because I was able to make contacts with animal law nonprofits and show them my work. Kathy’s experience and advice were immeasurably valuable in helping me prepare to be a future attorney. Overall, it was one of the best and most helpful classes I took during law school.”

- Kelly Lavenda, J.D. 2013

“Many students, myself included, discover that legal clinics are central to our education. They are a setting to develop legal skills, to reflect on our strengths, limits, and preferences, and to work directly with clients. I enjoy Kathy’s teaching and relational style that blooms from compassion; it sprouts compassion in me. I appreciate that she encourages us to think carefully about what goals we seek, the means we use to pursue these goals, the context of the world in which we live and work, and what makes us happy. I enjoy the focus on cooperative relationships and cooperative problem‑solving. 

I had a great experience as a legal intern with the Animal Law Clinic. I would recommend it to everyone interested in protecting animals and advancing animal interests. At Lewis and Clark, this is a large number of students, and I would like the Clinic to be able to take on more student applicants.”

- Lindsay Tallon, J.D. 2013

“The animal law clinic at Lewis and Clark Law School was likely the course in law school that most prepared me for practice as an attorney. Professor Hessler guiding us through client relations and the associated work for the clinic’s clients was extremely insightful and helpful to me as a soon-to-be attorney. The knowledge and experiences Professor Hessler imputed to us during the clinic were extremely valuable to me as I started meeting with clients as an attorney just a few short months later (on animal and other legal issues). In addition to excellent coverage of the nuts and bolts of client relations and the quality and standards of work for clients, the clinic, of course, helped me learn how to counsel clients in areas of law the client and I both feel strongly about – animal advocacy. In summary, the Animal Law Clinic at Lewis and Clark Law School prepared me in many ways to be an attorney advocating for animals and to be an attorney in general. I am in my third year as an attorney and am still finding myself recalling skills that were taught to me in the clinic. I would highly recommend this clinic to any student, especially those interested in animal advocacy.”

- Mark Jordan, J.D. 2011

Animal Law Clinic

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