Maryland native runs animal law practice

For Maryland native Jennifer Reba Edwards, the practice of law has gone to the dogs.

Literally.

Edwards runs the only law practice in Colorado solely concentrated on animal law, The Denver Post reports. Edwards opened the Animal Law Center in Wheat Ridge after she graduated from law school in 2006.

Edwards’ practice handles everything from animal ownership disputes to national, high-profile cases. The practice won a $24 million settlement with a pet food company in a class-action suit in which Edwards represented owners whose pets had died after eating the company’s food.

The practice also deals with cities or areas trying to ban specific dog breeds like pit bulls and a case where a dog was shot by a police officer when answering a call at someone’s house. Edwards has almost been attacked by a wolf and was peed on by a tiger in the course of her work.

“But that’s OK,” Edwards told the Post. “I like to meet my clients.”

Cat avoids death penalty

A few bank lawyers in Chicago helped achieve a stay of execution for a cat.

The cat was facing a death sentence, a penalty  Connecticut is set to soon abolish (for people), after its owner stipulated in her will that all her surviving feline friends be euthanized “in a painless, peaceful manner” upon her death.

The owner, Georgia Lee Dvorak, 76, died in December and her estate and 20-year-old will were left in the hands of Fifth Third Bank trust officers. The officers took pity on the kitty and went to court Monday asking that the cat, named Boots, be sent to a no-kill animal shelter.

Apparently Boots has had somewhat of a hard-knock life. Dvorak took her in as a stray about 18 months before she died; Boots’ previous owners “threw her down stairs and kept her in a locked closet for days at a time with no food, water or litter box.”

The bank lawyers argued that since most of Dvorak’s $1.4 million estate was going toward animal charities, she was committed to the love of animals and therefore would not want her cat to die.

A Cook County judge agreed to send Boots to happier hunting grounds here on Earth. The cat will go to a shelter which requested a $2,000 endowment to care for the cat — $1,000 will come from Dvorak’s estate and the other half will come from fees Fifth Third Bank agreed to forego.

The name of the shelter Boots will spend the rest of his mouse-chasing days? Cats are Purrsons Too. Apparently, the court could not agree more.

UM law students get their claws out

Anyone who’s gone to law school in the past five years or so knows the Internet-fueled distraction of the final exams period when it’s just you, some books and a computer for days at a time. Read outline. Check Facebook. Read outline. Refresh gossip blog. Read outline. Write e-mail to the law school listserv about your pet rock.

Ok, so some people get more batty than others. Or should I say, catty. Above the Law reports that law students at the University of Maryland started sending fake e-mails about pet-sitting after a visiting professor and two students solicited cat-sitters on the student listserv.

One student wrote:

Hey everyone-

I swear this is the last one of these. I’ve got this pet rock, George, that will need taking care of while I’m out of the country for a few months. He’s a 19 lb. granite rock that I pasted a mustache and googly eyes on, and I’m sure he’ll fall in love with whoever is kind enough to take care of him. He’s easy going—don’t worry about leaving him alone for a few hours at a time. My only request is that you fill his water bowl three times a day, and take him outside for fresh air in the morning and before his bed time, which is typically 7:30—I always let him watch Jeopardy with me! Of course, I’ll provide his bed, calcium pills, mustache comb, and extra glue (just in case).

After “Cat Lady” responded with her post about her 17 cats that need a sitter, another student responded as if she were law school dean Phoebe Haddon, saying, “I can understand a come-back e-mail, but if you’re going to risk your academic standing, at least make it funny.”

She ended with the disclaimer:

- this email was made for the express intent of scaring the crap out of the abovementioned individuals, and to show that law students can be funny but you, unfortunately, are not.

Ouch. Apparently we’ve moved beyond the good old bar exam lolcat for entertainment.

Law students: what else is going on over at UM law? Lawyers: what did you do during finals time?