History of the Conference

Lewis & Clark Law School and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have a rich history hosting and supporting animal law conferences for students, practitioners, scholars and activists. In 1982, the Animal Legal Defense Fund hosted its first animal law conference in San Francisco, California and thereafter held annual conferences until 1992. In 1993, a small contingent of Lewis & Clark Student Chapter Members interested in animal welfare hosted a one-day symposium addressing wildlife issues. From that humble beginning, The Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark started its tradition of hosting an annual academic conference to address the subject of animal law.

Over the years, the annual Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark continued to grow in size and popularity with the support and shared vision of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. At the same time, the Animal Legal Defense Fund continued to host animal law conferences every three years, aptly called “The Future of Animal Law.” In 2013 the Animal Law Conference at Lewis & Clark and the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Future of Animal Law Conference joined forces to create “The Animal Law Conference,” co-presented by the two groups along with the Lewis & Clark Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter.

As an annual event, the conference will alternate between Portland, Oregon, and another city each year. The organizers of the Conference hope that by hosting the event in different parts of the country, it will become accessible to those who may not be able to travel to Portland, Oregon. With this exciting merger, the Animal Law Conference is the preeminent event in the field of animal law today.

Conference Helps Soldier Reunite with Military Dog

Many attendees were moved to tears at the 2016 Animal Law Conference when Sgt. Ryan Henderson (ret.) described the hopelessness and frustration he has felt as a veteran who was unjustly separated from his combat partner and military working dog, Satan. Luckily, attorney and former Animal Legal Defense Fund Board Member, Marilyn Forbes, was moved to action after meeting Ryan at the conference. Check out this news report about the painful path and the joyous reunion of this soldier and his best friend: Military Dog Reunited With Soldier 5 Years Later.

“Finally, a conference that lives up to its philosophy!”
“Best conference I have ever attended - you need more.”
“The panelists were wonderful and the cost for students was reasonable.”
“Thanks so much for a wonderful weekend! I had a blast - it was well put together, planned, and went incredibly smoothly. Great job!”