Lunch and Learn Programs

Finding His Passion – A Dog Lawyer’s Journey to a Fulfilling Career
Recorded Wednesday, October 23, 2019

About the Program:  After spending 12 years working insurance claims and 7 years handling debt collection matters, Attorney Jeremy Cohen decided he wanted his legal education to have more of an impact on day-to-day life. Being fortunate to be practicing during the social media age, he turned one locally notorious dangerous dog case in 2008 into a new career and founded a law firm wholly dedicated to pet-related cases. Attorney Cohen is going to share stories about his mid-career change, present judicial trends in companion animal law, and discuss current cases in the news.

Featured Speaker:  Attorney Jeremy Cohen is the founder of Boston Dog Lawyers. In 2016, his law firm became the first law firm in Massachusetts dedicated to pets and their owners. In the last three years, his staff has handled more than 1,500 calls from pet owners and pet professionals in need of counsel from around the country. His case selection involves defending dangerous dogs and lawsuits, pet custody disputes, wrongful pet injury/death, and counsel to pet-related businesses.

With more than 12,000 Facebook followers and 3,500 on Twitter, Boston Dog Lawyers has been featured on local and national television news. Attorney Cohen is a regular guest on WBZ radio in Boston and is a columnist for Simply Pets Magazine. He has spoken at Boston area high schools and law schools. His firm has been developing affiliates in other states as part of his long-term goal of becoming nationwide. Boston Dog Lawyers is currently a subject for a developing reality show and book.


Meat Without the Animal: Plant-Based and Cell-Based Meat
Recorded Thursday, July 11, 2019

About the Program: This program covers The Good Food Institute’s activities promoting plant-based and cell-based food, the science behind cell-based meats, US regulation of cell-based meat, and recent state legislative efforts affecting plant-based and cell-based meat.

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Featured Speaker: Elizabeth Derbes, J.D., M.P.H., Assistant Director of Regulatory Affairs, The Good Food Institute.  Elizabeth works on global and domestic regulatory issues affecting cell-based meat and plant-based food entrepreneurs.  She was previously a partner in the securities regulatory practice at WilmerHale LLP.  She holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and an M.P.H. with a Certificate in Food Systems from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She is a member of the bar in New York, Washington, D.C., and California.


Wildlife Killing Contests
Recorded Wednesday, April 10, 2019

About the Program: Wildlife killing contests are barbaric events in which participants compete to kill the largest, the smallest, or the greatest number of the target wildlife species for entertainment and prizes. Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, squirrels, crows, and other species are killed in these events every year in New York. This presentation discusses the problems associated with wildlife killing contests, the legal framework that allows these contests to continue, and current efforts to ban the events in New York and across the country.

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides. (This has been edited due to the graphic nature of the original presentation).

Featured Speaker: Katie Stennes, Programs and Communications Manager – Project Coyote.


Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse Program (VALAC)
Recorded: Friday, October 5, 2018

About the Program: The Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse (VALAC) Program is part of the Onondaga County Bar Association’s Animals and the Law Section. Created in 2014, the Program’s goal is to assign an attorney to serve as the advocate for an abused animal who is the subject of a pending abuse case in Syracuse City Court. The VALAC Program works cooperatively with the Court, District Attorney’s Office, Syracuse Police Department, Local shelters and hospitals, local and regional rescue organizations and the Syracuse Department of Animal Control. The advocate, or “VALAC,” monitors the health, physical condition, temperament and prognosis of their dog or cat while the case is pending. The VALAC, who is teamed with a student from the Syracuse University School of Law, visits their client on a regular basis, and consults with hospital and shelter personnel for the purpose of providing status update reports to the Court, District Attorney and Defense Attorney. The VALAC Program also assists with fostering, adoption and rescue efforts once a surrender is obtained from the original owner. In 2018, “Shadow’s Fund” was established to help pay for the medical costs, treatment and relocation cost of our clients.

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Featured Speaker: Nicholas J. Demartino, Esq., Criminal Defense Attorney in Syracuse, NY and Director of the Onondaga County Bar Association’s Volunteer Advocate Lawyer for Animal Abuse (VALAC) Program.


Exposing the Myth of Trophy Hunting as a Means to Conserve Endangered and Threatened Species
Recorded: Wednesday, June 6, 2018

About the Program: In this presentation, Friends of Animals Legal Director and former University of Denver law professor Mike Harris will discuss the legal and factual misinformation that is commonly evoked in rhetoric on the utility of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. This talk aims to elucidate why the North American Conservation Model is not a valid justification for trophy hunting today. We will discuss how these issues apply to recent policy changes under both the Obama and Trump administrations and how states are stepping up to fill in the regulatory gaps.

Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.

Featured Speaker: Michael Harris, Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program Director.  Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris has been an environmental law attorney for more than 20 years, working directly on litigation to protect wildlife and natural ecosystems. Michael received a B.A. in Environmental and Political Studies from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, an M.S.L. from Vermont Law School, and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California-Berkeley, where he was an executive editor for the Ecology Law Quarterly. Before coming to Friends of Animals, Michael was an associate professor at the University of Denver, where he directed the school’s Environmental Law Clinic. Mike, who lives in Colorado with his family, is an avid hiker, adventure guide and enjoys teaching his son to respect wildlife.


Legal and Policy Considerations for No Kill Sheltering
Recorded: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

About the Program: The presentation will provide an overview of no kill animal sheltering around the country.  We will discuss legislative and policy tools that can be used to assist shelters in reaching the goal of saving all healthy and treatable animals that come through their doors.  Specific topics and tools to be discussed will be the common hurdles mentioned as barriers to no kill sheltering, the use of data to improve programs, community cats, and the use of resolutions to assist in reaching the goal.

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation.

Featured Speakers: Richard Angelo, Jr. and Andrea Joy (A.J.) Albrecht, both from Best Friends Animal Society


Intro to Animal Law Program
Recorded: November 1, 2017
About the Program: The program was created by the NYSBA Committee on Animals and the Law to educate both attorneys and the public about animal legal issues in New York State. This program is a great way to get a better understanding of the animal laws in New York State.

Featured Speakers: Kirk Passamonti and Amy Pontillo


Integrated Rescue Teams in Disasters 
Recorded: Wednesday, June 21, 2017  

About the Program: GR3’s 1Hart program is designed to provide teams specializing in emergency response, rescue, and resilience care to animals during a natural disaster. While the bulk of person power and resources in the disaster relief sector focus on meeting human needs for disaster response, preparedness, and post-crisis services, 1Hart seeks to build animal rescue teams and integrate them with humanitarian response. Although conventional crisis management should also include preserving the symbiotic relationship between people and their domestic and companion animals, 1Hart explicitly acknowledges the need for emergency preparedness and response that includes attention to the safety of animals.

Featured speakers: Malcolm Seheult, JD, Ph.D., FRSA and Joann Lindermeyer, DVM, MPH


The Travels of an Honorary Master Mason Guide Dog: Accessibility from his View
Recorded: March 15, 2017

About the Program: Meet Gary Norton, an attorney, consultant, and mediator. Standing by him, since 2010, has been Pilot, his guide dog. This program will delve into the human and animal relationship – a bond between a notable man and his guide dog – and it will touch upon access law for not only those with disabilities, but the dogs who stand by their side. The program will also foster a discussion as to how we leverage our diversity, not to mention the spirit of the law, for good feelings with others.

Featured Speaker: Gary Norton