Professor Delcianna (Delci) Winders, a renowned animal law expert and advocate, will join the Vermont Law School (VLS) faculty this fall as a visiting associate professor of law and Animal Law Program director. Winders joins VLS from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she directed the world’s first law school clinic dedicated to farmed animal advocacy. She brings to VLS a wealth of experience in animal law on a range of high-profile cases and issues.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to join Vermont Law School as we expand on a strong foundation of animal law course offerings, synergistic programs, and student interest to become leaders in the growing field of animal law,” Winders said. “VLS has long stood at the forefront of innovation aimed at making the world more just and compassionate, and I look forward to leading an animal law program that honors and advances that tradition.”
Winders’ new appointment comes as VLS—home to one of the country’s top environmental law programs—expands its focus on animal law. The school’s Environmental Law Center recently secured funding to launch an animal law program that, among other things, will increase animal law litigation and other advocacy work in four of its existing clinical training and research programs. The new program, made possible with generous support from the Brooks McCormick Jr. Trust for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Animal Welfare Trust, the Greenbaum Foundation, and the GRACE Communications Foundation, aims to promote the humane and compassionate treatment of animals through legal education, scholarship, and policy development, as well as engagement with communities, advocates, and the legal profession. VLS also recently launched a new JD concentration in animal law, an animal law lecture series, an animal law media fellowship, and expanded course offerings in the field.
“We are so delighted to have this opportunity to partner with Delci to deepen our animal law work,” said Jenny Rushlow, associate dean for environmental programs and director of the Environmental Law Center at VLS. “As a member of our summer faculty teaching animal law, Delci has been an inspiration to our students. The whole Vermont Law School community is looking forward to working with her.”
Before joining the Lewis & Clark faculty, Professor Winders was vice president and deputy general counsel for the PETA Foundation, the first academic fellow of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program, and a visiting scholar at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She has also taught animal law at Tulane University School of Law and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and frequently gives talks on animal law subjects.
Winders’ animal law scholarship has appeared in numerous law reviews, including Denver Law Review, Florida State Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, NYU Law Review, and Animal Law Review. Professor Winders has also published in the popular media, including opinion pieces in The Hill, National Geographic, Newsweek, New York Daily News, Salon, and USA Today. She has been interviewed by numerous major national and international news outlets, including ABC, Al Jazeera, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, The Atlantic, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. She was also featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of “Six Women Who Dare.”
Professor Winders received her BA in Legal Studies with highest honors from the University California at Santa Cruz, and her JD from NYU School of Law. Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
On July 29, Winders will give a lecture titled “Bird Brains? Our Evolving Understanding of Chickens—and Their Lagging Legal Status” as part of VLS’s annual Hot Topics in Environmental Law lecture series. The lecture is open to the public and will be streamed online at vermontlaw.edu/live. Winders will teach a virtual interdisciplinary Animal Welfare Law course during VLS’s Summer Session, which is open to students, practitioners, and lifelong learners from across the country. She also has numerous publications forthcoming, including a co-authored chapter on captive wildlife in the third edition of the American Bar Association book Endangered Species Act: Law, Policy, and Perspectives, to be published this month.