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Animal Law Can Bring Out the Beast in Some Lawyers

As today's Chicago Tribune reports (and as we've covered previously), the practice specialization of animal law is becoming increasingly popular.  The Tribune notes that "92 of the 196 ABA approved law schools in the country now offer courses on animal law,  up from the nine that offered classes in 2000." Moreover, some top law schools, like Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Northwestern, found that the price is right for building up their animal law program after each received $1 million from a foundation set up by Bob Barker.

Unfortunately, sometimes the appeal of an animal law case can bring out the beast in lawyers. Susan Cartier Liebel writes here about a case involving a Denver salon owner who was fined $1,000 by an animal control officer because she dyed her poodle pink, the official color to promote awareness of breast cancer. Though the owner used organic beet juice which did not harm the poodle, she apparently violated a statute that prohibits owners from dying their pets.  Recognizing the public appeal of the case, two young lawyers agreed to represent the owner pro bono and asked another law firm to come on board to help with the PR aspects of the case. The firm declined -- and the young lawyers soon discovered why: the firm had poached the case of the pink pooch, arranging to represent the salon owner themselves! All of which goes to show that there are still some lawyers who choose to practice law as if they worked in an Orwellian Animal Firm, where as we all know, pigs rule.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 25, 2008 at 04:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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