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UH Law Center student Soileau named National Animal Law Competitions semi-finalist

Allie Soileau, University of Houston Law Center 3L

Allie Soileau, University of Houston Law Center 3L

Feb. 08, 2023 — Allie Soileau, University of Houston Law Center 3L, was chosen as a semi-finalist in the 2023 National Animal Law Competitions. Competing in the Legislative Drafting and Lobbying component, Soileau was selected from competitors across the United States and Canada.

“To receive this opportunity is a huge honor, especially the first year they return after six years,” Soileau said. “It is validating to know that my hard work paid off and that such a prestigious organization, one that only chooses up to 10 people for Legislative Drafting and Lobbying, saw merit in my work.”

Presented annually by the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law & Policy in collaboration with law schools such as Harvard, Lewis & Clark and Yale, the competition provides an opportunity for students to gain knowledge and experience in the field of animal law. Fashioning written and oral advocacy skills for a rapidly expanding legal field, it also serves as a platform to raise awareness for animal welfare issues.

“These competitions are essential because of the feedback gained from the professors involved. It is invaluable,” Soileau said. “Learn how to think like a lawyer; pick up different styles of arguing; try things out. This is your chance to see if the career path is right without repercussions.”

Soileau, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund president and first-generation law student, wrote a five-page mock state bill, created a fact sheet and recorded a two-minute elevator pitch outlining the objectives of the bill.

“For the semifinals, we are going to be lobbying our bill that we wrote to make-believe legislators to try to get them to support us,” Soileau said. “Judges will select people to advance to the next round to compete again in the morning with a prompt given to them that night. You have to turn it around very quickly.”

As she advances, Soileau will have UH Law Center Professor Tracy Hester as an adviser.

“Allie has done a great job at mastering a challenging legal area, especially given the competition’s emphasis on legislative advocacy — which is definitely a tough skill set to master. Her success really reflects the hard work that she’s done, and I’m confident she’ll keep succeeding in the next levels of the competition,” said Hester.

During the competition, she will work to secure objectives, such as bill sponsorship, co-sponsorship, hearings and votes by meeting with three judges and/or staff posing as legislators.

“Animal law is a small community of legal professionals, and I have gotten to work with organizations on tasks related to the endangered species act, worked on research for the first

textbook for aquatic animal law and went to an animal law conference where I met up with connections from the speaker series,” Soileau said. “This award is one more opportunity to network, and for that, I am grateful.”

The National Animal Law Competitions will be held virtually March 18-19, 2023.