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Careers for animal lawyers

Updated: Mar 16

The field of animal law is growing and offering many job opportunities for people who care about animals. More and more law schools are also offering courses in animal law, which shows how important this field has become in the legal world.

In this section, we'll look at careers for those passionate about animal rights and legal advocacy. You can choose different roles, like being a lawyer who fights legal battles for animals, working on making better laws for them or teaching others about animal law. You have many options to help animals and make a positive impact.


Internships are a crucial starting point, offering hands-on experience in understanding laws and regulations related to animals. These roles involve researching, analysing policies, and creating documents, which help you learn about animal welfare issues and how laws are made.

Litigation - Fighting battles in court 

Animal lawyers have important jobs. They take legal action against animal cruelty, challenging harmful practices in industries, and ensuring animal welfare laws are followed. To do this, you need strong legal skills, a deep understanding of animal laws, and the ability to work in complex legal situations. 

Alene’s Take:

Pivoting Into Litigation  

Alene's journey into animal law took some unexpected turns. Even though her family had a background in law, she didn't initially plan on becoming a lawyer. Her passion for animal rights, which she discovered in college, led her to work with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). While she enjoyed the work, she decided that she wanted something more intellectually stimulating. This decision eventually led her to pursue a law degree. Alene's story shows that switching to a career in law can be a great choice, especially if you've gained experience in animal rights work on the ground.

Policy Advocacy

This advanced path is about making and guiding changes in laws and policies. It's for people with a legal background who want to use their skills to change things by taking necessary legal actions and pushing for new policies.

Specialised Advocacy and Reform Legislature 

Here, experts play a significant role in making new laws and pushing for changes in existing ones. They also do essential advocacy work, including talking to lawmakers and developing plans to achieve their goals. These experts work closely with government agencies and other important people, leading efforts to ensure that animal laws are based on ethics and good practices.

Senior Positions in Policy and Legislation

In senior positions such as Policy Specialist or Staff Attorney, professionals have a significant impact on creating laws and policies. They play a crucial role in writing new laws, leading campaigns, and pushing for policies that improve animals’ lives at different levels of government.

If you consider advocacy research

Advocacy research plays a crucial role in animal law by helping lawyers develop their legal plans and policies. It covers a wide range of topics, from taking legal action to creating new policies, and it can focus on specific kinds of animals or issues. Advocacy research can lead to the development of entirely new legal fields, just like how research in the environmental movement gave rise to climate justice as a field of study. It can present a unique chance for legal professionals to do groundbreaking work and help shape the future of animal law.

Shreya’s Take:

Challenges in the Indian Context 

Shreya pointed out several challenges in the field of animal law and academic research in India. One big challenge is not having enough money to support the work and needing more expertise to make things run smoothly. She also mentioned having to wear many hats and that can be challenging and not always the most efficient. Shreya emphasised the importance of compassionate and competent leadership in the animal advocacy field.

She also talked about how India’s diverse cultural and economic perspectives affect people’s views on animal advocacy. Shreya mentioned the importance of strategies and policies that work well in an Indian context. She also stressed the need to be sensitive to India's diverse society when doing advocacy work, considering factors like economic backgrounds, cultural influences, and religious beliefs that determine what people eat.

If you are an experienced lawyer

If you're a lawyer with experience and are interested in switching to animal law, one good way to start is by becoming a part of the advisory boards of nonprofit organisations. These boards often appreciate having lawyers because of their legal knowledge and insights. Plus, being involved in these roles can show that you're committed to helping animals, which is important if you want to shift your career into this specialised but growing field.

Choosing a career in animal law can be an exciting and very fulfilling path. In this field, you get to work on important cases that can change animal laws and rules. It's a profession where you work with people who share your passion, and there's less competition and more cooperation among colleagues. In animal law, your job isn't just about practising law. 

It's about being part of a community committed to positively impacting animals' lives and, in turn, society as a whole.


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