The Animal Legal Defense Fund is hosting their 6th annual Student Convention on Friday, November 4th  from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Portland Downtown and online. In-person and virtual tickets are available. Law students registering for the Animal Law Conference are encouraged to attend the Student Convention as well! Agenda coming soon. For more information, click here

6:00 – 8:30 p.m. PT

Welcome Reception

The conference will kick off with an evening reception at the Hilton Portland Downtown. We invite you to enjoy appetizers and drinks while networking with fellow conference attendees. The reception will not be live streamed.

Welcome remarks by:

Pamela Hart, Executive Director and Assistant Dean, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School

Stephen Wells, Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

All sessions on Saturday will take place in the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Portland Downtown and will be live streamed via our virtual event platform.

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. PT

Using Science to Improve Legal Outcomes for Animals


Dr. Lori Marino, Founder and President, The Whale Sanctuary Project; Director, Kimmela Center for Science-Based Animal Advocacy

Rebeka Breder, Animal Law Lawyer, Breder Animal Law

Dr. Rebecca Ledger, Animal Behavior & Animal Welfare Scientist 

Moderator: Kathy Hessler, Director, Animal Law Clinic and Aquatic Animal Law Initiative, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School 

Scientists and animal lawyers are important allies and their creative partnerships prove that together they are a strong front for animal protection progress. This kick-off plenary session will explore the joint work of an animal behavior expert and animal lawyer who have helped expand the definition of suffering in animal cruelty cases, as well as sharing details about exciting opportunities to bring science to animal law scholars, theorists, and practitioners. 

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. PT


10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT

Animals Caught in Human Conflicts


Rachael Bale, Executive Editor of Animals, National Geographic

Gladys Kamasanyu, Chief Magistrate, Uganda Wildlife Court 

Moderator: Erica Lyman, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment, Lewis & Clark Law School

Everything humans do impacts the natural world and mostly those impacts have a negative effect on the environment and animals. This panel will shed light on the plight of animals caught in violent human conflicts and how animals are trapped by war, are killed in the violence or when their habitat is destroyed, and are used to fund war and terrorism.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. PT


1:00 – 2:15 p.m. PT

The Moonshot for Farmed Animals


Joyce Tischler, Professor of Practice, Animal Law, Lewis & Clark Law School; Founder, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Piper Hoffman, Senior Director of Legal Advocacy, Animal Outlook

Leah Garces, President, Mercy for Animals  

Animal advocates are at a pivotal moment to change the future for farmed animals. Prominent journalists are now regularly covering farmed animal issues and the public is paying more attention than ever given the impacts of our current food system on climate and the environment. The plight of countless terrestrial and aquatic animals who are suffering in industrial animal agriculture has gained visibility like never before. This panel will address the role of farmed animal protection within the animal law movement and provide a path forward to bring about a better world for farmed animals in the next 30 years. 

2:15 – 2:45 p.m. PT


2:45 – 4:00 p.m. PT

Deconstructing Personhood and Standing

Roundtable Discussion

Macarena Montes Franceschini, Doctoral Researcher, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Christopher Berry, Managing Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund 

Karen Bradshaw, Professor of Law and Mary Sigler Fellow, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University

Moderator: David Rosengard, Managing Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund 

Animal legal personhood is an area of increasing focus within the animal law movement and has begun to receive mainstream media attention. Yet, it is an amorphous and often misunderstood topic. What does it mean for animals to be recognized as legal persons? How does the interplay of substantive and procedural rights, like standing, inform our understanding of legal personhood? Is there a consensus in the movement on what animal legal personhood means? Does it matter? What is the best path forward? This roundtable discussion will tackle these questions and more.

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. PT


4:30 – 5:30 p.m. PT

Animals, Ethics, and the Attorney

Interactive Presentation

Russ Mead, The Shared Earth Foundation Visiting Professor, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School 

Moderator: Priscilla Rader Culp, Education Program Manager, Animal Legal Defense Fund 

Animal law often poses unique questions, challenges, and fact patterns for attorneys to work through, but how do the rules of professional responsibility apply? Join Russ Mead, leader in animal law and ethics, for an interactive, entertaining, and informative look at what to do – and not to do – when advocating on behalf of animals in the legal system. Russ will lead attendees through a series of hypothetical scenarios, which will examine ways to handle situations effectively while adhering to the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. Attendees will receive one continuing legal education (CLE) ethics credit for this session.

6:00 – 8:30 p.m. PT

Banquet Dinner and Keynote Presentation

Miyoko Schinner, Founder and CEO, Miyoko’s Creamery 

Introduction by: Stephen Wells, Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund

All concurrent sessions on Sunday will take place in the Grand Ballroom I & II at the Hilton Portland Downtown, and will be live streamed via our virtual event platform.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. PT

The Future of Animal Law Education

Roundtable Discussion
Grand Ballroom I

Rajesh Reddy, Visiting Professor and Director, Animal Law Program, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School

Kathy Hessler, Director, Animal Law Clinic and Aquatic Animal Law Initiative, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School 

Claire Howe, Executive Director, The Raven Corps  

Moderator: Pamela Hart, Executive Director and Assistant Dean, Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis & Clark Law School 

Animal law education has exploded in the past thirty years, from less than a handful of animal law courses in 1992, to more than 160 animal law courses at American Bar Association accredited law schools today. While animal law education is still nascent by comparison to other fields, it is, at last, firmly on the map. Where do we go from here? This panel will discuss innovative approaches to advancing the future of animal law education on a global scale, across a variety of disciplines, through youth advocacy movements, and by integrating animal law education throughout the law school curriculum.

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. PT


10:30 – 11:45 a.m. PT 

The Importance of Considering Animals in Political Campaigns

Grand Ballroom I

Assemblyman Dan Benson, New Jersey’s 14th District, New Jersey Legislature 

Nicole Harris, Deputy District Attorney, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney’s Office 

Solomon Malick, President, Peak Government Affairs 

Moderator: Kim Kelly, Legislative Affairs Program Director, Animal Legal Defense Fund; Executive Director, Animal Legal Defense Legislative Fund

As recognition grows that animals are sentient and have their own interests, society is beginning to demand that animal welfare is considered not just in legislation but also in political campaigns. Many people are asking how their representatives in government think about animals and how they plan to protect them. The speakers on this panel will discuss how animals and animal issues play into legislative and political campaigns, looking at it from the point of view of an elected legislator, an elected prosecutor, and a lobbyist.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. PT

Crimes Against Animals: Innovative Outcomes for Animals and People

Grand Ballroom II

David Rosengard, Managing Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund 

Philip Tedeschi, Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection; Clinical Professor, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work

Jessica Chapman, Criminal Justice Program Fellow, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Moderator: Pamela Frasch, Founder, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School 

The animal law movement has for the most part been successful in showing people animal cruelty is a problem—the new challenge is to figure out the best path forward. A dynamic and evolving area of focus is creating targeted criminal justice outcomes to better help animal victims, prevent future crimes against animals, and build healthier and more resilient communities. This panel will look to the future with innovative work that is currently being done, including restorative justice, transformative justice, and mental health evaluations, through the lens of interspecies justice and One Health. A focus on outcomes leads back to prevention and resilience, bringing us full circle in effectuating positive change for animals in the criminal justice space.

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PT


12:15 – 1:30 p.m. PT

The Role and Future of Animal Sanctuary

Grand Ballroom I

Cristina Kladis, Litigation Program Fellow, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Gwen Jakubisin, Executive Director, Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary 

Megan Senatori, Associate Director and Adjunct Professor, Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School; Co-Founder & President, Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims

Moderator: Cristina Stella, Managing Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animal sanctuaries not only provide safety, enriching space, and care for animals, they also serve an important role in educating the public about the cruelty and neglect that the animals may have faced before coming to sanctuary. Panelists will provide a forward-looking vision for animal sanctuary, including the availability of sanctuary space for animals assisted through litigation, the important role of sanctuary for farmed animals, and re-imagining sanctuary for human and animal victims of domestic abuse and intimate partner violence.

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. PT

Innovative Alternatives to Using Animals in Research

Grand Ballroom II

Lenore Montanaro, Attorney and Writer

Dr. Paul Locke, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Caitlin Foley, Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Moderator: Brian R. Hackett, Legislative Affairs Manager, Animal Legal Defense Fund

With the rise of animal-free innovations in research models, advanced by ethical considerations, scientific advancement, and social policy, new alternatives in the protection and prevention of animals used in research are more possible than ever. Panelists will provide an overview of key aspects of the Animal Welfare Act and its litigation, animal welfare systems created by federal laws used in laboratories, whistleblower protections for those who speak up on behalf of animals, and what next steps might look like in the decades to come.