CHAIR: Gilda Mariani
CHAIR-ELECT: Meena Alagappan
At the 2008 ABA Annual Meeting in New York, the Animal Law Committee was awarded the TIPS “Exceptional Achievement in Promoting and Achieving Greater Participation and Involvement by Committee Members in the Activities of the Committee and Section. This was the fourth straight award for ALC in so many years.
At the August 2008 Annual Meeting in New York City, the Committee held its second annual awards reception, generously sponsored by the ASPCA. The ALC Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law to Raj Panjwani, an attorney from India and Committee Vice Chair, who has championed the protection of India’s parks and animals. He is the author of “Wildlife Law: A Global Perspective” published by ABA/TIPS and “Animal Laws of India” which is a widely used textbook at Indian law schools.
At the Committee’s instigation, the TIPS Council was granted ABA blanket authority to send a letter in support of a pending federal bill that requires the National Incident Reporting System, the Uniform Crime Reporting Program and the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange Program to list cruelty to animals as a separate offense category. It was hoped that this would provide useful scientific data concerning the link between animal abuse and violence against humans. The Criminal Justice Section co-sponsored.
National and Regional Conferences
One of ALC’s most ambitious projects to date occurred November 9-10, 2007 at Duke University School of Law. This first ALC national conference was entitled “Animals and Bio-Engineering — A Consideration of Law, Ethics and Science” and was co-sponsored with the ABA Section of Science and Technology, the TIPS Intellectual Property Committee and Media Defamation and Privacy Committee and Duke University School of Law. Financial support came from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Covington & Burling, the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights Law, the North Carolina Association of Biomedical Research, and Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice. The program was co-chaired by Duke Professor William A. Reppy and ALC members David Favre, Kristina Hancock and Gilda Mariani. This groundbreaking event opened a dialogue between disparate groups and identified some areas of possible agreement. This was the Committee’s first collaboration with an academic institution.
On December 1, 2007, the Committee held its first regional conference, “Prosecuting Reckless Owners and Muzzling Dangerous Dogs: Common Sense Solutions for Politicians and Practitioners”, at New York University Law School in New York City. A broad spectrum of co-sponsors included the TIPS Trial Techniques Committee, Law Practice Management Committee and Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Committee, the Animal Farm Foundation and the New York University Student Animal Legal Defense Fund.
In March of 2008, the Committee co-sponsored the TIPS Worker’s Compensation and Employer’s Liability Law Committee’s program in Chicago entitled “National Trends, Emerging Issues, and Cutting Edge Medical Disability Determinations Affecting All State Worker’s Compensation Laws”. Leonard Nason organized the two-day conference and ALC members Barbara Gislason and TIPS Anthony MacAuley gave presentations.
Public Service Project
Through the mentoring of TIPS Committee Administrator Sonia Schroeder, the ALC began collaborating with the TIPS in Public Service Committee and HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) on its first public service project to provide humane education instruction to students at local elementary schools with the purpose of instilling kindness and compassion in the youth of our schools. The project may be tested in New York and Washington, DC and later expanded to other regions. Committee Chair Meena Alagappan agreed to move this project forward.
Publications and Technology
In November, 2007, the TIPS Enterprise Fund awarded ALC a $6,000 grant to develop a podcast series called “Insights”, an idea advanced by Chair Mariani. The seven podcasts, produced and made available on the Committee webpage, discussed emerging issues in the practice of animal law: Animal Law: A Practice Whose Time Has Come — an interview with then TIPS Chair Peter Bennett; Forging a Career in Animal Law — an interview with Joyce Tischler, co-founder of the Animal Legal Defense Fund; Estate Planning for Pets and Funding Your Pet’s Trust Fund – a two-part interview with Peggy Hoyt, a prominent trust and estates attorney; When an Animal Enters the Case – an interview with David Ball, a nationally known jury and trial consultant; Interview with Raj Panjwani, author of “Wildlife Law: A Global Perspective“; and CSI: Testing Animal DNA for Toxic Exposure – an interview with Dr. Bruce Gillis, Chief Executive Officer of the Cytokine Institute.
The first ALC book entitled “Wildlife Law: A Global Perspective” edited by Raj Panjwani, an attorney from India and ALC member was published and approval was given by the ABA for a third book to be produced by the Committee.
The Committee published two newsletters in October of 2007 and May of 2008 and contributed to the annual survey of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal. Three articles on the rapidly growing field of animal law mentioned the ALC as a significant entry in advancing the practice of Animal Law: ABA Law Journal (November 2007); cover story in the Washington Lawyer (DC Bar magazine March 2008); cover story in the ABA Student Lawyer (February 2008).
Members of the Committee met in New York City in August at the Annual Meeting. All current projects and future plans were discussed. Marianne McDermott presented the Membership Plan for 2008-2009 with retention and recruitment goals, a demographics report and survey results.
ALC leadership, spearheaded by Membership Vice-Chair Marianne McDermott, created a new 4-color printed brochure to promote the Animal Law Committee and help expand the membership. The brochure was made available to members as hand-outs at local law events and was made available on the ALC website.
McDermott and Committee leaders designed the first survey sent to all current ALC members, resulting in specific information regarding the level of participation, suggestions, demographics, etc. All program suggestions were sent to respective subcommittee leaders and newsletter ideas to the Editor. McDermott presented the results at the Annual Meeting.
A list-serve letter was sent to all members with survey results, subcommittee sign up form and promoting the new ALC brochure. All new members were sent a welcome letter and sign up form for subcommittees. Subcommittee chairs were informed of members’ interest. At year’s end (August, 2008), membership stood at 280 with one member dropped.