BY LEILA AREFI-POUR
Q. What is the most valuable benefit members get from joining your Section that they can’t get anywhere else?
The most valuable benefit for members is support and educational opportunities such as CLEs on animal law. Animal law is an area of law that touches every other area. For example, animals can become the center of issues arising under landlord/tenant law, criminal law, family law and divorce proceedings, and trusts and wills, just to name a few. With animal law becoming more prevalent, most attorneys will have an animal law case (or issue) come across their desk at some point. The Animal Law Section is here to support practitioners in their fight for animals.
Q. What is a recent Section accomplishment or current project that you are excited about?
Activities have been limited by COVID-19; however, the Animal Law Section hosted, in conjunction with the WSBA, a 2020 CLE on animals in transportation. The CLE covered animal-related cases that involved all modes of transportation (airplanes, maritime, rail, semi). At this CLE we also provided a legislative update that included the most relevant laws that practitioners may encounter, such as veterinary informed consent, outlawing breed-specific legislation, adoption of dogs and cats used for research purposes, and lethal removal of gray wolves. [The recorded version of this CLE is available for purchase at www.wsbacle.org; enter 20803 in the search box.]
Q. What opportunities does your Section provide for members who are looking for a mentor or for somebody to mentor?
COVID-19 has affected the Section’s ability to provide these opportunities; however, I intend to bring the project of restarting them to the forefront of the Animal Law Section during my term as chair.
Q. What advice do you have for building a successful practice in the area of law related to your Section and how does membership in your Section help do that?
Because animal law is an emerging area, it can be difficult for attorneys to find positions that are exclusively focused in this area. They do exist, and you should keep an eye out for them, but they are few and far between. Much of the time, attorneys incorporate animal law into their existing practice, by agreeing to take on an animal law case within their firm or taking animal law cases retained outside their firm. More and more firms are designating divisions in their firms to primarily focus on animal law. I would also advise a person looking to get into animal law to attend an animal law CLE and network. There are CLEs in different states and many of them are offered over Zoom due to COVID-19. The Animal Law Conference is a weekend-long conference sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (www.aldf.org) each year where people can really get an understanding of animal law. The conference also provides wonderful networking opportunities.
Q. In addition to membership in your Section, what are the best ways to stay up on the developing law in this practice area?
The best way to stay up on animal law is to keep track of proposed legislation at the federal and state levels.
Learn more > The Section membership year is Jan. 1 – Dec. 31. For more information and to join the Animal Law Section, or any other Section, visit www.wsba.org/legal-community/sections/sections.
Titles Available From the Lending Library Related to Animal Law and Other Topics
- Careers in Animal Law, by Yolanda Eisenstein
- The Essential Associate: Step Up, Stand Out, and Rise to the Top as a Young Lawyer, by Jay Harrington
- The Simple Guide to Legal Innovation, by Lucy Endel Bassli
- Microaggressions in Everyday Life, by Derald Wing Sue and Lisa Spanierman
For more information about the WSBA Lending Library, email email@example.com or visit www.wsba.org/library.