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Local Hero – The Law’s on His Side

Anthony SamOne Chicago law student is using his skills in the courtroom for advancement of animal rights.

As part of the John Marshall Law School Animal Law Society for two years, Anthony Sam has made it his priority to focus on important animal rights legislation issues–and he has made it a priority to be good at it.

Sam, a 26-year-old third year law student, won first place at the Animal Law Advocacy Closing Argument Competition at Harvard Law School this past February. This is his second first-place win at this competition, and the fifth first-place win for students from the Chicago law school.

Sam argued a case of animal cruelty against a man who was charged with killing a woman’s pet in retribution for making his sexual advances towards her public. The competition allows sixteen to twenty students from law schools across the nation to show off their trial advocacy skills, said Susann MacLachlan, clinical professor and director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution.

“Anthony is a skilled competitor,” MacLachlan said. “He is what we call at John Marshall a ‘triple threat.’ He has won trial, mediation, and appellate competitions on a national level since he began at our law school. Very few students are capable of achieving awards in such diverse areas, but Anthony has made it look easy.”

MacLachlan said animal law courses are becoming more readily available at various universities across the United States due to donations from the likes of Bob Barker, who has given millions of dollars to the cause.

Harvard was fortunate to receive some of the funds and in addition to developing their own animal law course and hosting animal law conferences, Harvard and their Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter also created very popular skills-training competitions.

According to MacLachlan these programs are, “incredibly important to the advancement of the animal protection and animal welfare movements, introducing new generations of students to these concepts and this area of practice. The fact that Harvard has embraced this new area of law has given it a great deal of credibility worldwide.”

Sam is very aware and understanding of the plight of animals across America, and throughout the world. Through the program at John Marshall Law School, he has learned that he can use his voice to make a difference.

“I have become more aware of the issues that support the humane and ethical treatment of all life on Earth, not just those that walk upright on two legs,” he said. “Animal Law Advocacy also helps organize the many thoughts and ideas that students have into a voice that seeks to change the world. Students learn so much from these programs.”

He will graduate on May 22 of this year and plans on working as a corporate trial litigator, while doing pro bono work in Animal Rights and Defense.

“Animal Law Advocacy has changed the way that I act and will forever be a part of who I am,” he said. “If I have learned one thing from Animal Law Advocacy it is that as humans, we are stewards over the animals entrusted to our care, and we must do what we can to ensure that we are good stewards.”

–Kelsey Duckett

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