Trailblazer And Thought Leader

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Trailblazer And Thought Leader

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A History Of Animal Law Accomplishments

Humane Society of the United States

In 2006, Barbara J. Gislason spoke at the Humane Society of the United States on Animals in Disaster National Conference, the Virginia Animal Control Association Conference, the Michigan Animal Law Symposium co-sponsored by the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section and the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, the Minnesota Animal Law Section Annual Conference, and the Lewis & Clark Animal Law Conference. In 2007, she spoke at a variety of venues, including the Keoladeo National Park at an Anniversary of the “Crane Court” in Bharatpur, India, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) Harvard University Law School Animal Law Conference, and the American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA) Annual Meeting. In 2013, Barbara spoke at Columbia Law School at the request of two student organizations on animal law, science, and technology. She also spoke at the American Bar Association Section of Family Law Spring Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, on the subject of “The Modern Family: Who Let the Dogs In?” In addition, she participated in an American Bar Association dangerous dog webinar called “Defending Clients in Dangerous Dog Proceedings.”

First Animal Law Course Offered in Minnesota

In January 2004, Barbara co-taught the first animal law course offered in Minnesota at Hamline University School of Law. Barbara then founded the Minnesota Common Law Project in animal law and worked in cooperation with the Minnesota Justice Foundation. During orientation week in August 2004, students from Hamline University School of Law, the University of Minnesota, and William Mitchell College of Law, under Barbara’s guidance, qualitatively interviewed 38 judges and referees in six counties. The information was used to gain insight into the court’s current knowledge and understanding of this practice area, to gather courtroom stories and experiences, and to consider how courts are bridging the gaps between codified law and case law in a rapidly changing field. Today, her firm serves clients statewide, including in Anoka County, Hennepin County and Ramsey County.

Animal Law at the American Bar Association

On October 9, 2004, Barbara brought animal law to the American Bar Association (ABA). By unanimous vote, the Council for the ABA’s prestigious Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) made animal law a Committee and Barbara its first Chair. This is the only animal law committee in the ABA and its scope is broad, ranging from equine, family, endangered species, and criminal law, to contracts, torts, insurance law, and more recently, biotechnology and emergency management.

The mission statement for the committee, which Barbara authored, is: “To evolve our thinking on animal issues for both the United States and the world. By attracting the best and brightest lawyers in this country, with a wide variety of perspectives, we will look at animal-related problems and issues today, and think about new ways to define, manage, and solve them. Utilizing problem-solving strategies, we will also look at the law as it exists today – fragmented around the country – and envision what it could be. The TIPS-ABA Animal Law Committee will be the instrument of a paradigm shift and will bring to the table and address legitimate business and economic interests, and humane concerns.”

Barbara recruited extraordinary leaders from around the world to fulfill the committee’s ambitious goals. Those who joined the committee as early leaders included Tax Lawyer Kristina Hancock of San Diego, California; Agricultural Lawyer Patrick Costello of Jackson, Minnesota; Equine Lawyer Julie Fershtman of Farmington Hills, Michigan; Animal and Environmental Law Professor David Favre of Michigan State Law School, Detroit, Michigan; White Collar Crime Prosecutor Jill Mariani of New York, New York; Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Animal Law program at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., Joan Schaffner; Tribal Judge Benjamin Zvenia of Las Vegas, Nevada; Raj Panjwani of the Animal and Environment Legal Defense Fund of Delhi, India; Patent Attorney Warren Woessner of Minneapolis, Minnesota; Plaintiff Attorney Adam Karp of Bellingham, Washington; Professor Song Wei of the University of Science and Technology of Beijing, China; and Professor Paul Waldau of Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.

While Barbara served as Chair for two years, the committee received two of the coveted TIPS Innovation awards. Barbara chaired and spoke at the committee’s first continuing legal education program at the ABA Annual Meeting called “It’s a Dog’s Life: What Does Tort and Insurance Law Have to Say About It?” She served for two years as the Editor-in-Chief of the Animal Law Committee Newsletter, which she also created, and she published articles in ABA TIPS’ The Brief, Tort Source, and Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast in the fall of 2005, Barbara expanded her ABA efforts. She created and directed the ABA-TIPS Animal Disaster Relief Network, which included participants from more than 70 nonprofits, law schools, and businesses. In this capacity, she wrote regularly published reports, including the first comprehensive overview in the country of state laws pertaining to animals and veterinarians in the homeland security, emergency management, and Good Samaritan context. She created and convened the ABA-TIPS Select Legal Panel on Emergency Management Regarding Animals, which fast-tracked model language on hold periods, or the amount of time animals must be kept before title transfers.

Others serving on this Committee included Epidemiologist Stephanie Ostrowski of the Center for Disease Control; Veterinarian and Lawyer Sarah Babcock of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Veterinarian Kevin Dennison; Vice President of the Field and Emergency Services of the Humane Society of the United States Melissa Rubin; Professor David Favre of Michigan State University Law School; and Ledy VanKavage of Best Friends Animal Society.

Barbara also worked closely with Committee Vice Chairs Kristina Hancock of California and Assistant Attorney General Jim Carr of Colorado, who also led the ABA effort with regard to TIPS’ sponsorship of the Federal Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS Act). This led to the entire ABA supporting the congressional passage of the PETS Act.

Barbara was appointed the ABA-TIPS Advisor to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) regarding the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA). There, she was influential in having veterinarians included in the Act and drafted model language concerning them. She also facilitated NCCUSL receiving subject matter expertise from TIPS and the Public Health Section, and in particular, brought in Tony Lorusso of St. Paul, Minnesota, to help with Workers’ Compensation challenges, and he became the Section’s alternate advisor.

Union Internationale Des Avocats (UIA)

Barbara J. Gislason made a presentation on the main stage of the UIA’s 55th Congress entitled Human Hybrids and Chimeras: Exploring the Implications of Biobanks and Pluripotent Cells With Regard to Species Integrity and National Security. She is the past President of the UIA’s Biotechnology Law Commission and served on the UIA’s Board of Directors.