Harvard has launched an animal law and policy clinic, becoming the latest law school to offer a hands-on course in the rapidly growing area.

The clinic is part of the school’s animal law and policy program. Topics include litigation, legislation, policy, and administrative matters relating to issues affecting farmed animals, wildlife, animals in captivity, and threats posed by climate change.

Kelly Levenda, student programs attorney with Animal Legal Defense Fund, said she is unaware of another top U.S. law school offering a hands-on legal clinic in addition to animal law courses.

“We need to train attorneys and judges who work in this area,” said Levenda. “It’s great to have a top law school taking animal law seriously. Animal law is a social justice movement, and I think the more people who are exposed to it, the better.”

The clinic reflects the growing interest among students and lawyers in animal and environmental law. The number of U.S. schools offering animal law courses has increased from nine in the year 2000 to 167 today, according to Harvard.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has student-led chapters at approximately 200 of the 214 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S. The chapters have encouraged growth of animal law in over the past 20 years, Levenda said.

Harvard’s clinic will be led by visiting assistant clinical professor Katherine Meyer and clinical instructor Nicole Negowetti, both experts in the field of animal law.

Meyer, a veteran in the animal protection movement, is a litigator and former instructor at Georgetown University Law Center. She founded one of the country’s leading animal and environmental public interest law firms, Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks (now Eubanks & Associates), 26 years ago.

Negowetti is a food systems policy expert who comes to the animal law program from Harvard Law’s food law and policy clinic.