By Gil Panzer, Chair
Florida Bar Journal, Vol. 90, No. 6 June 2016 Pg 40
This year is the most exciting yet for the Animal Law Committee (ALC). The ALC transforms to the new Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar on July 1, and the new section will be on this year’s Bar dues statements, distributed in May, prior to publication of this report. I invite everyone to join the new section and participate in the development of this diverse and interesting area of law. The section is open to anyone interested in this area of law, regardless of whether you practice animal law. The section is also open to affiliate members, such as law students and paralegals.
The Board of Governors gave the final approval of our new section last year and I want to thank everyone involved in the project for contributing time and expertise, which involved many of our members and Bar leaders. I especially thank our Board of Governors liaison, Renée Thompson, and our program administrators, Dixey Teel and Jeremy Citron, for their guidance, hard work, and support for the ALC. I also thank ALC leadership Gregg Morton, Ralph DeMeo, Sarah Taitt, Jennifer Dietz, Laura Triplett, Phyllis Coleman, and Aleksandra Sikorska for their efforts and dedication.
The ALC’s 2015 meeting at the Annual Florida Bar Convention in June included discussions of the ALC’s planned activities on other important ALC topics. The meeting also included outstanding service awards to one lawyer and one law student, and awards to two Bar leaders for their dedicated service. The attorney outstanding service award winner was our Past Chair Ralph DeMeo and the law student outstanding service award winner was Christine Clolinger from Florida State University’s College of Law. Our Board of Governors liaison, Renée Thompson, and our program administrator, Dixey Teel, received awards for their dedicated service and outstanding contributions.
The ALC also presented a four-hour CLE seminar at the annual Florida Bar convention in June 2015. The popular seminar included two Florida legislators; two Florida state lobbyists; the former chair of the ABA’s Animal Law Committee and animal law author, Yolanda Eisenstein; a Florida law professor; and several Florida animal law attorneys. I thank our CLE subcommittee chair, Aleksandra Sikorska, for arranging the successful seminar and Ralph DeMeo and Diana Ferguson for assisting with speaker arrangements. We have planned our 2016 CLE and it again includes interesting speakers, including Professor Joan Schaffner, Washington, D.C.; a panel discussion by legislators; a point-counterpoint attorney panel involving assistance animals; and a Florida law professor presenting on ethics. I invite everyone to attend our CLE and again thank Aleksandra Sikorska for preparing the CLE.
The ALC, Florida State College of Law’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Tallahassee-based not-for-profit Pets Ad Litem, Inc., presented the third annual Student Animal Law Legal Writing Competition. In 2015, the winning student was Kara Graham from Florida A&M University Law School.
The ALC has a considerable number of popular publications. The ALC issues a newsletter and has monthly or bimonthly eUpdates to our members and other interested individuals on our email list. The ALC also has Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and a plan to prepare a new website is underway. I thank Laura Triplett, David Brunell, and Gretchen Myers for their hard work creating the eUpdates and newsletter.
The ALC monitors animal law legislative bills and provides regular updates. I thank Diana Ferguson for her diligent work, insights, and skills in regularly informing ALC members about bills and activities in the Florida Legislature.
The ALC’s first section column is published in this issue of the Journal. I thank the author and editors for their high-quality work.
I invite everyone interested in the ALC or its activities to contact us and again invite everyone to join the new Animal Law Section by selecting the Animal Law Section on the Bar dues form. Members of the Bar interested in being added to the ALC email notification list should contact Jeremy Citron at email@example.com. Questions about the ALC or the new Animal Law Section should be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.