Colorado Law is home to nearly 50 active student organizations. These organizations empower law students to increase their knowledge, gain leadership experience, network, and collaborate with the legal community—all while building connections with classmates that will last throughout their careers and beyond. In this spotlight, we are excited to share more about the Colorado Law Animal Legal Defense Fund (CLALDF).
Led by Mason Liddell ’25, the CLALDF’s goal is to help the law school community engage more directly with animal law, using the knowledge and perspective they gain through their involvement with the club to help make the world a better place for humans and animals alike.
While a chapter of ALDF at Colorado Law had previously existed, it became inactive in recent years. Liddell was inspired to restart the organization because of both his interest in wildlife and conservation and a conversation he had with the Career Development Office.
“I started looking around to see how to start a chapter and what resources the school, the ALDF, and other students had. There was a good amount of help available, and that’s when I decided to do it officially,” Liddell said. “Seeing that other people were willing to join the board of this hypothetical club was enough for me to decide we should try to restart this chapter.”
In its first year, the club has already seen great success. Most notably, the club was named Student Chapter of the Year this past month at the ALDF Student Convention. Beyond this, though, CLALDF’s accomplishments cover a wide variety of student and legal interest areas.
“With a lot of help from Dean Amy Bauer, we found a new adjunct professor to teach Wildlife Law in spring 2024,” Liddell shared. “It’s the only animal law course that CU has ever offered, at least as far as we could find, and we haven’t offered it in years.”
The CLALDF has also introduced another brand-new class to the school, Special Topics Seminar on Animal Welfare, which will be offered in spring 2024.
In addition to introducing new courses, the club collaborated with Animal Partisan in the spring of 2023 to establish several volunteer positions for Colorado Law students to earn hours towards the Public Service Pledge. Over that summer, the CLALDF expanded that program to include the Northwest Animal Rights Network and the Nonhuman Rights Project and invited students from Denver Law to join.
“Between the two schools, we had about ten students sign up to volunteer for these organizations and, at least at CU, all of the hours count towards the Public Service Pledge,” Liddell said. “It’s also been a great way for people to get experience on real legal work, even as a 1L, and meet people in this field.”
Members of the CLALDF also had the opportunity last year to submit public comments on fish and wildlife regulation in Colorado. With the help of Professor Mark Squillace, they not only successfully submitted comments, but also were asked by the ALDF to provide advice on a guidebook for other student chapters to use in writing public comments.
This year, Liddell and the rest of the club are looking forward to continuing advocating for a class on animal rights, and possibly drafting legislation.
“Next semester, we’re planning to put together a group of interested students to draft legislation. Then, we’ll present our work to state lawmakers in the summer,” Liddell explained. “My goal is for us to write something so good that it gets introduced as a bill during the 2025 Colorado legislative session.”
The club is deeply grateful to have had the support of students, administration, and faculty at Colorado Law. Their numerous accomplishments this past year would not have been possible without these resources, and of course, the club’s dedicated team members. To learn more about the CLALDF visit https://www.colorado.edu/law/colorado-law-animal-legal-defense-fund-claldf.