The Case of the Pink Poodle

The Chicago Tribune reported today that there is an unprecedented rise in attorneys practicing animal law.

Once an area thought to be only for attorneys with either a heart or frankly, nothing else to do, The Tribune notes that "92 of the 196 ABA approved law schools in the country now offer courses on animal law, up from the nine that offered classes in 2000." Moreover, some top law schools, like Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Northwestern, found that the price is right for building up their animal law program after each received $1 million from a foundation set up by Bob Barker.

Today’s Law.com blog, Legal Blog Watch Alert, says that unfortunately, sometimes the appeal of an animal law case can bring out the beast in lawyers. Susan Cartier Liebel writes here about a case involving a Denver salon owner who was fined $1,000 by an animal control officer because she dyed her poodle pink, the official color to promote awareness of breast cancer.

Though the owner used organic beet juice which did not harm the poodle, she apparently violated a statute that prohibits owners from dying their pets.  Recognizing the public appeal of the case, two young lawyers agreed to represent the owner pro bono and asked another law firm to come on board to help with the PR aspects of the case. The firm declined — and the young lawyers soon discovered why: the firm had poached the case of the pink pooch, arranging to represent the salon owner themselves!

I am frequently asked by paralegals what the newest areas of law are; where can you go to find jobs that appeal more to your personal interests and passions.  Use your imagination here, folks! Anytime you find a practice specialty heating up, you’re bound to find lawyers who need paralegals in that specialty.  So, for those of you looking to get out of a job that’s routine and repetitious, consider following this yellow brick road.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

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