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May 3, 2005

Claire Duggan: (202) 994-0616;
Matt Nehmer: (202) 994-6467;


Groundbreaking Program Will Give Animal Law Students
Practical Experience in the Courts

WASHINGTON -The George Washington University Law School announces the creation of the Animal Law Litigation Project, a joint venture of the Law School and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that will give students practical experience representing animals in the nation's courts.

The GW/HSUS Litigation Project - the first such joint animal law litigation project in the country - will be supervised jointly by GW Law Professor Joan Schaffner and Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of animal protection litigation for the HSUS and an adjunct faculty member at the Law School. The Litigation Project will offer a select group of law students a chance to work side-by-side with the HSUS's experienced legal staff on animal protection cases. Litigation Project students will receive credit for their work on the HSUS's diverse docket, including more than two dozen pending environmental and animal protection cases in state and federal courts throughout the country.

"The Litigation Project is an exciting addition to the rapidly expanding animal law offerings at GW Law," said Schaffner. "By building upon the success of our Animal Welfare Pro Bono Project, the new Litigation Project will turn theory into action and give our students an unparalleled opportunity to gain practical experience in the courts."

The establishment of the Litigation Project comes on the heels of a string of related programs and projects that have positioned GW Law School as one of the leading schools in the country for animal law.  In addition to the new Litigation Project, the Law School also is home to the Animal Welfare Pro Bono Project, created by professors Mary Cheh and Joan Schaffner, and devoted to researching and improving animal welfare laws in the District of Columbia. The Law School also offers an annual seminar on animal law and wildlife protection, has an active chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and recently hosted the inaugural National Animal Law Legislative Drafting and Lobbying Competition. A GW Law School student won that competition, and in February, two GW Law students won the National Animal Law Moot Court Competition at Harvard Law School. It was the first time GW Law School students participated at the event.

With nearly nine million members and constituents, The Humane Society of the United States is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, and farm animals and sustainable agriculture.

Accredited by the American Bar Association and a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, the GW Law School enrolls approximately 1,750 students each year.

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