The Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School is committed to analyzing and improving the treatment of animals through the legal system. The Program engages with academics, students, practitioners, and decision-makers to foster discourse, facilitate scholarship, develop strategic solutions, and build innovative bridges between theory and practice in the rapidly evolving area of animal law and policy. Read more about this work in the Animal Law & Policy Program’s Year in Review and media coverage.

In 2019 we launched the Animal Law & Policy Clinic to provide students with direct hands-on experience in animal advocacy on behalf of farmed animals, wildlife, animals used in research, entertainment, and in other forms of captivity, using strategies including litigation, legislation, administrative practice, and policy-making.

In November 2021, Harvard Law School announced the establishment of a $10 million endowment for the Animal Law & Policy Program, thanks to a gift from the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy. The program now bears the name of the institute’s founding benefactor, Brooks McCormick Jr., a lifelong animal lover and philanthropist who passed away in 2015.

Our Mission

Educational Opportunities

Expanding educational opportunities for students through offering innovative courses, providing research opportunities, and assisting with internships and job placement

Academic Research

Increasing both the quantity and quality of academic research in the field by convening academic workshops and roundtables, hosting an annual cohort of Visiting Fellows working on their own scholarship projects, and establishing a bi-weekly ALPP Workshop Series

Informing Broader Audiences

Educating broader communities about animal protection issues through holding 15-20 public events each year, including conferences, symposia, and an ongoing speaker series.

As our Program and Clinic are entirely donor funded, this work would not be possible without the generous support of individuals and institutions that include Bob Barker, Virginia Coleman, Simone Friedman, Brad Goldberg, Phillip and Lynne Himelstein, Ariel Nessel/Mobius, Charles Thomas, Animal Welfare Trust, Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy, and Stray Dog Institute, in addition to anonymous donors.

The Program also engages in collaborative work with institutions across Harvard and around the world, including participating in the Brooks Animal Studies Academic Network (BASAN). Some of these collaborative projects and events are listed below.


Representative Collaborations

Live Animal Markets Project

Engaging several other institutions to participate in a major research initiative analyzing global policy responses to animal markets and their connection to zoonotic diseases. Collaborators include New York University’s Center for Environmental and Animal Protection, University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School’s Center for Animal Law Studies, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, and Yale Law School’s Law, Ethics & Animals Program.

Workshop on Animal Agriculture from the Middle East to Asia
Clean Meat Regulatory Roundtable

Organizing and co-hosting the Clean Meat Regulatory Roundtable in collaboration with the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Good Food Institute.

Research Roundtable on Animal Law and Regulation

Co-organizing three annual academic workshops with the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Animal Law Competitions

Hosting the National Animal Law Competitions organized with the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Exploratory Workshop with Science, Law, and Policy Experts

Hosting an exploratory workshop with science, law, and policy experts that laid the groundwork for the formation of a novel organization, the Center for Contemporary Sciences.

Death of Factory Farming Panel

The Death of Factory Farming as part of the Harvard Law School Bicentennial Summit.

Annual Symposia on Antibiotic Resistance

Hosting several annual symposia on antibiotics resistance organized in collaboration with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Annual Just Food? Forum

Organizing panels for the annual Just Food? Forum hosted by the Harvard Food Law Society and Food Literacy Project.

2018 Annual Conference of Animal Grantmakers

Helping organize the 2018 annual conference of Animal Grantmakers and hosting several of its speakers at HLS.

The Ivy League Vegan Conference

Co-organizing and co-hosting The Ivy League Vegan Conference with the Harvard Vegan Society.

Film Screening of The Game Changers

Hosting athletes and filmmakers from The Game Changers documentary with Harvard Business School, and holding a film screening and Q&A with them at Harvard Law School.

Debate on Food, Federalism, and the Curious Case of Foie Gras

Co-organizing and co-hosting a debate on Food, Federalism, and the Curious Case of Foie Gras with the Harvard Federalist Society.

Board Meeting of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Hosting the annual board meeting of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.