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Important Dates

Fall Semester Begins

August 12th, 2024


Fall Application Deadline

May 19th, 2024

Advance Animal Legal Personhood with an LLM Degree in Animal Law

LLM Degree in Animal Law

A Master of Laws, or LLM, degree allows you to specialize in a field of law after graduating with your Juris Doctor. If you are passionate about animal welfare and animal protection, then an LLM degree in animal law is a path to consider – and one that the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School offers online. This blog provides information about the Animal Law LLM degree, specifics about the online program, and highlights one of our courses: International Animal Law.

What is an Animal Law LLM?

The Animal Law LLM at Lewis & Clark Law School is the world’s only advanced legal degree in animal law. Through this one-of-a-kind program, you will learn about the foundational nature of legal rights and interests, as well as how advocates have leveraged the law to protect the lives of animals around the world.

Animal law overlaps with many traditional areas of the law, such as torts, criminal, constitutional, environmental, property law, and others. It is rooted in the practical application of statutory and decisional law and explores legal theory and jurisprudence.

An LLM in animal law allows you to specialize in this field and use the degree to open doors to many careers paths such as:

  • Policy development, implementation, or enforcement,
  • Scholarship or teaching, 
  • Advocacy, and 
  • Executive leadership.

What Makes up the Areas of Animal Law?

Throughout your time in this program, you will learn from renowned animal law scholars and practitioners from around the world. The courses range in the curriculum and include courses on international animal law, crimes against animals, animal testing, wildlife law, and other emerging topics in the field.

The professors at Lewis & Clark Law School teaching the program are renowned animal law scholars and practitioners from around the world. Whether you take the animal law program online or in person, the faculty is largely the same, acting as a strong resource for anyone wanting to learn about and practice in the field.

The LLM program requires 26 credits (27 for international students), which can be completed in as few as four semesters and at most three years, depending on how students want to spread the program. The ability to take the courses online allows you to be flexible with your education and make it fit your schedule and other obligations.

International Animal Law for Online Students

The online Animal Law LLM program features an international animal law course. Led by Professor Rajesh K. Reddy, co-author of the Convention on Animal Protection for Public Health, Animal Welfare, and the Environment draft treaty and Director of the Animal Law Advanced Degree Program, International Animal Law explores both how the field developed and continues to evolve through complementing and at times competing legal mechanisms and interests. Employing the U.S. as a baseline, it calls critical attention to integral animal law frameworks in numerous countries and across jurisdictions. 

Particular attention is paid to how a nation’s culture, economy, and legal structure profoundly influence the protections that animals receive both within and beyond their borders. Other areas of focus include conservation treaties, animals as global commodities, and the realization of animal legal personhood across numerous jurisdictions, with the international landscape having provided the foundation for the recent recognition of animal legal personhood for Colombian Hippos in the United States, an effort led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and that Professor Reddy served as a consultant on.

What Are the Qualifications for the Program?

The Animal Law LLM program at Lewis & Clark is available to both international and domestic students who have a law degree that qualifies them to practice as a lawyer or judge in their own country. For international students, an LLM allows you to gain qualifications for global legal practice as well as improve your knowledge of the U.S. legal system. 

Why an LLM Degree in Animal Law?

Attention is increasingly being paid to how human wellbeing is inextricably braided with that of animals. So whether it concerns combating climate change, fostering a more humane world, or preventing the next pandemic, the advancement of animal law is central to human flourishing. 

As the world’s only advanced legal degree in animal law, the Animal Law LLM thoroughly equips graduates with the tools, knowledge, and connections necessary to gain a foothold and thrive in this burgeoning field. 

If you are looking to specialize in animal law within your practice, the Animal Law LLM from Lewis & Clark Law School can lead you to that path. 

How to Apply to the Online Program

If the Animal Law LLM program interests you, you can apply through the online application site. You will be asked to supply:

  • A statement of interest;
  • A resume or CV;
  • Transcripts; and
  • One letter of recommendation

If you are interested in Animal Law or you have any other questions regarding the program, contact Animal Law Admissions at alawadmissions@lclark.edu or (503) 768-6960.

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