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Law Courses Catalog

Animal Law Clinic I

Limit: 6 students

Semester Long Class

The Animal Law Clinic (Clinic) works on local, national, and international animal law issues in addition to working with the state and local community. Students conduct research, represent clients, and work on clinic projects to develop the field of animal law and encourage consideration of the interests of animals in legal decision-making. Clinic work includes: policy, legislative, transactional, and administrative law work; occasional litigation work; research; advocacy; and strategic planning. When appropriate, students also work with other lawyers as well as community members, veterinarians, scientists, economists, and other professionals. 

The work of Clinic students includes: research, analysis and writing; petitions to state and federal agencies; comments on proposed regulations; FOIA and state public records requests; legal investigations; presentations to law students, clients, and community groups; responses to media requests for information; drafting and reviewing organizational policies; drafting legislation and lobbying; amicus briefs; and researching and drafting complaints and motions. Students also write policy papers, blog posts, guidance documents, items for newsletters and law review articles.

The Clinic is designed to help students develop their legal research, analysis, and writing skills while also learning about drafting, strategic decision-making, litigation, negotiation, mediation, ethical practice, and advocacy. The Clinic provides an opportunity for students to gain real-world experience working with clients as well the chance to develop their professional skills.

Animal Law Clinic I is a semester-long course for which students will earn three credits. Students participate in a weekly two-hour class covering substantive issues and lawyering skills, meet weekly with clinic faculty to discuss their work, and spend an average of ten hours per week on clinic work.

Students must take Animal Law Fundamentals as a prerequisite for the Animal Law Clinic and must also enroll in Animal Law Clinic II when it is offered in the same academic year. There is no application process. Up to six students may enroll on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Animal Law Clinic is a credit/no credit course with no final examination or paper requirement. Depending on the work in the clinic, however, there is a possibility that a WIE paper can be completed. Professor consent is needed. In some semesters it is possible for students to do additional work, for individual research credit that furthers their clinic work and meets the Capstone requirement. Professor consent is needed. While the clinic will not include a separate ethics portion for credit, students will be exposed to, and learn about, professionalism and ethics critical to being an effective legal advocate.

For further information, contact clinic director, Kathy Hessler at

Prerequisite: Animal Law Fundamentals