Sunday, October 19, 2008

New animal law firm opens in Oregon!

Ok, not sure if this story wasn't found by Google for a few days or if it's really been a few days since I've run a Google search...

but as the 16th Annual Animal Law Conference comes to a close in Portland, Oregon today, it seems especially appropriate to say congrats and good luck to Laura Ireland Moore, as she embarks on the next chapter in her life: forming a new private practice focusing on animal law.

I first met Laura in about 1999 when we were both in law school. I had submitted an article written for an advanced crim law seminar about making better use of forfeiture laws to prevent animal cruelty to the 1st annual writing competition at Lewis &Clark law school's new Animal Law Journal. When a L&C envelope came back in the mail a few months later, it was pretty thin. I was already steeling myself for the worst - "at least I tried... a lot of people get rejected..." as I opened the envelope. Much to my surprise, not only did the journal accept the article - I actually won the $500 first prize. (That was a lot of money back then and, unfortunately, still seems to be a lot of money most months...) I met Laura, via phone, during editing for that journal. The student editor originally assigned to the article had the unfortunate penchant of editing mistakes into my writing. I called Laura, who was editor-in-chief, if memory serves. She resolved the issues timely and professionally. As time passed, I came to realize that's just her M.O..

Upon graduating, Laura became the first executive director of the National Center for Animal Law (now the Center for Animal Law Studies) after persuading the powers-that-be at the law school to turn her vision into reality. During her tenure, the Center offered classes with regionally and nationally-known animal law attorneys, clinics with actual cases for students to tackle, as well as annual moot court competitions and conferences that offered not only great learning opportunities but became the hottest social events in the animal law community.

This past Fall, Laura turned her attention to building a private practice. She is joined by a law school friend, Holly Gibbons. The pair have acquired the practice of former Waldport mayor and animal law attorney, Scott Beckstead. Scott practiced in Waldport for 14 years; he made national headlines about six years ago for the jury verdict he got on behalf of a family whose dogs were poisoned by a neighbor. The $135,000 award is the highest ever in an animal law case.

Scott now runs an HSUS horse sanctuary in Oakland, Oregon. Anyone who knows Scott knows that, while he is a sharp attorney, he just loves horses way more than practicing law. It's a dream job for him. Meanwhile, a collaboration with ALDF has brought fresh ideas to the re-tooled Center for Animal Law Studies. And another passionate animal law advocate, longtime ALDF attorney Pam Frasch, has taken over the reigns (pun intended) at CALS.

Lots of changes and very exciting! Best wishes to everyone!

No comments: