Want to Learn More?

Want to Learn More?

Important Dates

Fall Semester Begins

August 12th, 2024


Fall Application Deadline

May 19th, 2024

Lewis & Clark’s Global Wild Animal Law Course Delivers Both Analysis and Advocacy

Wild Animal Law Course

Lewis & Clark’s online advanced degrees in Animal Law are one-of-a-kind. The LLM in Animal Law (for lawyers) is the only advanced legal degree in animal law in the world. The MSL in Animal Law (for non-lawyers) is groundbreaking: it’s the first animal law master’s degree of its kind in the United States.

The Center for Animal Law Studies commits to training the next generation of animal law advocates. Their highest priority is advancing animal protection through education and the law.

Set upon this foundation, our Global Wild Animal Law course, taught by Clinical Professor Erica Lyman, focuses on the field of wildlife law in the context of the global extinction crisis and animal protection tools. It looks at the important relationship between international wildlife law and domestic implementation. 

Professor Erica Lyman has over fifteen years of experience in international environmental law, with a strong focus on wildlife protection issues. She is the Director of the Global Law Alliance for Animals and the Environment (the Global Law Alliance)—a collaboration launched in the fall of 2020 between the Center for Animal Law Studies and the Environmental Law Program at Lewis & Clark Law School. The Global Law Alliance is a champion for wild animals and wild spaces across the globe, working to protect animals and the environment through the development, implementation, and enforcement of international law.

Analyzing and Advocating Animal Protection

The Global Wild Animal Law course takes a close look at relevant international treaties. It explores these treaties as legal tools for wild animal protection, and it offers ample opportunity to critique, evaluate, and contemplate the value each of these treaties brings to the animal advocate’s toolkit. It offers a comparative perspective on federal U.S. wildlife law and the laws of other countries, allowing students to understand barriers, tensions, and negotiated international outcomes. It also investigates some of the legal tools available under U.S. law for addressing pressing international wildlife issues.

The class aims to spark conversations about both the promise and peril of existing wildlife law for animal advocates. It offers practical tools for addressing the dangers that wild animals face, whether they are trapped in an international supply chain, suffering the loss or degradation of their homes, or otherwise harmed by human activity. Students are prompted to consider the inadequacy of outdated existing laws that fail to meet today’s evolving challenges. 

Professor Lyman sheds light on the evolution of wildlife law with an eye toward how international law can be used to protect animals and the places they call home. Ultimately, she roots the course in optimism, and the eternal belief that there’s good yet to be done within the frameworks we have at our disposal. She hopes the study inspires reevaluation, critical thought, and an eye-opening perspective on the ways to be an animal advocate in this world.

Class Structure and Outcomes

This is a fully online course delivered asynchronously via the Canvas learning management system. Many benefits of an in-person setting are in place even in an asynchronous format, such as office hours and connection-driven assignments. Discussion boards relating closely to the readings and lectures actively engage students’ participation–with both each other and the learning content. 

Upon completion of the course materials, students can confidently: Identify key principles of wildlife law in both domestic and international contexts; discuss how the key principles of wildlife law shape legal and policy choices; explain how legal frameworks are constructed to give effect to policy choices; apply wildlife laws and principles to real-world scenarios encountered beyond the classroom; evaluate the effectiveness of specific wildlife laws; and even generate proposals for advancing wildlife law.

The course modules begin by introducing students to the principles and challenges in Wildlife Law before breaking down the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Next, the middle sections cover the illegal wildlife trade and U.S. legal tools for addressing international wild animal issues. The stage is then set for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and a look at marine animal protection. The course concludes by exploring horizons in global wildlife law.

If you’re enrolled in the advanced degree program in Animal Law, you’re likely passionate about the preservation of wildlife, wild animal protection, and how to safeguard a brighter future for all animals. The Global Wild Animal Law Course will teach you how to continue turning your passion into action through this advanced degree.

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