AVMA Legal Outreach Program

Overview | Goals | View relevant AVMA policies
View a list of completed presentations | Request a presentation | Animal law writing contest for law students


Law schools and the legal profession are paying increased attention to animal law issues that have the potential to greatly impact veterinary medicine. In 2000, there were only nine animal law courses in the nation. Today, over 140 law schools in the United States and Canada offer courses in animal law. Many of these law schools expanded their animal law curriculums to include clinics, programs and student organizations.

In 2008, the AVMA officially launched its Legal Outreach Program (LOP). The LOP aims to expose law students and legal professionals to a veterinary perspective on important animal law issues. Since launching the program, the AVMA has offered its expertise to law school courses, legal workshops, and bar association meetings on many animal law related issues.

The AVMA has assembled a geographically diverse team of speakers, including veterinarians, attorneys, and AVMA staff. Law students, law professors, and legal professionals have welcomed the AVMA into their classrooms and meetings. Law students have appreciated the opportunity to listen to and debate the veterinary perspective on animal law issues.

In October 2014, the AVMA and several other associations developed an animal law writing essay contest for law students.   



  • Enable the legal profession and law students to hear a veterinary perspective on various animal law issues.
  • Make veterinary students aware of potential legal issues they may face in the future.
  • Increase AVMA involvement in the field of animal law in order to help inform public policy.
  • Increase awareness of to the public and legal profession of available AVMA resources and expertise.

Potential topics for presentations include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring appropriate care for companion animals in commercial kennels
  • Advantages and disadvantages of various livestock housing systems
  • Reporting of suspected animal abuse by veterinarians
  • Elective surgical procedures such as tail docking and ear cropping
  • Mandatory spay/neuter
  • Legal status of animals
  • Appropriate measure of damages in lawsuits involving companion animals

Relevant AVMA Policies

AVMA Model Bill and Regulations to Assure Appropriate Care for Dogs intended for use as Pets

Non-economic damages


Elective Veterinary Procedures

Request a Legal Outreach Presentation for Your School/Organization

If you would like the AVMA to speak to your law students, student organization, bar association members, colleagues, or veterinary students, please contact the AVMA State Relations Department via em​ail or phone at (847) 285-6779.

Completed Legal Outreach Program Presentations

Through the Legal Outreach Program, the AVMA has been able to speak to law students and legal professionals about important animal law issues. The following law schools and bar associations are among those who have welcomed our speakers:

Law Schools

  • University of Wisconsin Law School
  • DePaul University College of Law
  • Michigan State University College of Law
  • Duke University School of Law
  • Hofstra University Law School
  • John Marshall Law School
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • Boston University School of Law (2)
  • University of Maryland Law School/ Maryland Bar Association
  • Northwestern Law School
  • Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Santa Clara University School of Law
  • University of Chicago Law School (Animal Law Week)
  • University of Chicago Law School (Animal Law Seminar)
  • Lewis & Clark Law School (Animal Law Conference)
  • University of Connecticut Law School
  • Wake Forest University School of Law
  • American University Washington College of Law
  • University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Western New England University School of Law
  • University of San Diego School of Law
  • Whittier Law School
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association- TIPS/ Animal Law Committee
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Minnesota Bar Association
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association (Illinois)
  • Idaho State Bar Association