Building a Brighter Future

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

Special Welcome Video

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute; UN Messenger of Peace

Using Science for Progressive Legal Outcomes for Animals


Dr. Rebecca Ledger, Animal Behavior & Animal Welfare Scientist 

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

Christopher Rhone, Partner, Branch Macmaster

Moderator: Kathy Hessler, Assistant Dean, Animal Law Education; Director, Animal Law Education Initiative, The George Washington University 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 animal behavior experts and animal lawyers. The panelists will share details about exciting opportunities to bring science to animal law litigation and legislation, as well as to scholars and theorists. 

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

Taylor Tench, Senior Wildlife Policy Analyst, Environmental Investigation Agency

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

Challenges and Opportunities Lawyers Face Today in Advocating for Farmed Animals


Leah Garcés, President, Mercy for Animals  

Piper Hoffman, Senior Director of Legal Advocacy, Animal Outlook

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

Animal advocates are at a pivotal moment to change the future for farmed animals. The plight of countless terrestrial and aquatic animals who are suffering in animal agriculture is a daunting challenge that must be addressed. This panel will focus on the role of legal professionals in farmed animal protection and discuss possible paths 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

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

Ariel Flint, Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund 

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

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

What the legal status of animals is, or what it should be, is a key issue for the animal law movement. Recently these questions — particularly as they relate to legal personhood — have begun receiving greater attention in broader legal spaces and popular culture. Join our panelists as they explore the contested territory opened up by interrogating the legal status of animals. Along the way we will ask if there is a consensus regarding what personhood actually means, whether it has anything to do with property status, why status cases reach divergent outcomes, and if animals stand to gain from advocates tackling the personhood question.

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 & Youth Advocacy

Roundtable Discussion
Grand Ballroom I

Kathy Hessler, Assistant Dean, Animal Law Education; Director, Animal Legal Education Initiative, The George Washington University Law School

Claire Howe, Executive Director, The Raven Corps  

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

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

The fields of animal law education and youth advocacy have exploded in the past thirty years. What began as less than a handful of animal law courses in 1992, has grown 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 District Attorney’s Office 

Hon. Emma Hurst MLC (video presentation), Member of the Legislative Council, Animal Justice Party, Parliament of New South Wales

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

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

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

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

Gwen Jakubisin, Executive Director, Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary 

Cristina Kladis, Litigation Program Fellow, Animal Legal Defense Fund

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

Challenges and Opportunities in Transitioning Away from Using Animals in Research

Grand Ballroom II

Christopher Berry, Managing Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Dr. Paul Locke, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Lenore Montanaro, Attorney and Writer

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

Within the arenas of law and science, there is much work that can be done to make advancements for the benefit of both animals and humans. Panelists will provide an overview of key aspects of the Animal Welfare Act and the Health Research Extension Act, the methods and outcomes of animal-based and animal-reduced science, protections for advocates seeking to acquire and disseminate information about research on animals, and what next steps might look like in the decades to come.