Once a fringe field, Animal Law is now an established practice - Metro US

Once a fringe field, Animal Law is now an established practice

Around 2007, Yolanda Eisenstein starting looking for a way to put her law degree to work for a humanitarian cause.

“I wanted to start my own practice. I discovered an emerging area of the law, animal law, that really interested me, because I had always been an animal advocate,” she explains. “I really had no idea that I could use my law degree in that area.”

Today Eisenstein has her own animal law practice in Dallas, Texas, where she specializes in pet trusts, non-profit law for advocacy groups and wrongful death litigation.

Recently, Eisenstein authored “Careers in Animal Law: Welfare, Protection, and Advocacy,” the first guidebook of its kind released by the American Bar Association. “Careers in Animal Law” provides outside-the-box ideas on finding work in the field, from government positions and public policy analysis, to non-profits and private practice. The book also includes 13 extended profiles of lawyers who specialize in animal law.

Eisenstein readily admits that animal advocacy is not currently the most profitable area of the law, but she sees it as one of the fastest growing fields in the profession.

“I see a lot of comparisons to environmental law. When it started, most in the profession thought these lawyers were just a bunch of ‘tree-huggers,’ and no one saw it as a lucrative area of the law,” says Eisenstein. “But look at it now: It’s become a very established, recognized area of the law. Unless you’re my age, you don’t even remember a time when environmental law wasn’t taken seriously.”

Degree options

The Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Ore., boasts the only Animal Law degree program in the country. Founded in 2008, the Animal Law Center at Lewis & Clark is affiliated with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. There are scholarships available, including a “litigation fellowship” awarded

each year.

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