Pre-Law Students Visit Harvard Law Conference
At Harvard Law School’s Future of Animal Law Conference, a group of Green Mountain College students tested their legal acumen and walked away with newfound knowledge and confidence.
Prof. Sam Edwards organized the trip—something he tries to do frequently. Edwards says he would attend these conferences anyway for his professional life; inviting students along is an added bonus—and a great opportunity. Despite the fact that the conference was geared toward professional lawyers, GMC students had no problem feeling comfortable.
“We learn a lot here,” says Kate Thomas '10. “They were talking about tragedy of the commons issues [at the conference]—environmental and ecological issues that we focus on all of the time here.”
That’s not to say that the experience wasn’t without its surprises. “I had an idea in my head about who would be there—I thought ‘animal law’ and assumed that maybe PETA would be there—other activist groups maybe,” says Kate. She noted that the conference, held April 9 – 11, 2010, was filled with legal professionals and aspiring law students.
Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) gathered leading thinkers from a variety of disciplines to talk about how animal law is a growing issue. Since animal rights are consistently a topic of discussion on campus, GMC students contributed to the dialogue and felt right at home. The college’s sustainable agriculture major is one example of how GMC integrates animal rights issues into the liberal arts education model.
For students like Kate, the conference was an opportunity to get her feet wet networking and establishing connections. In fact, Kate helped a fellow student writing a paper on animal law contact some of the people she met at the conference. Other GMC students attending the conference included Rose Robitaille, Melody Hoffman and Nicholas Ravotti. All of the students took away an understanding of how to bridge the collegiate and professional worlds – by letting them overlap as they contribute to the public discourse.
By Chad Skiles '12