Lawyers are very busy people, and new associates may find it especially difficult to find time to socialize and stay involved in the causes they’ve once supported. The all-mighty billable hour and client development time often force hobbies and time spent with family and friends to take a back seat.
I am a new associate. However, my proudest title is that of “dog mom.” My dogs eat gluten-free, organic food and have a membership to BarkBox. If I were to be shown photographs of my dogs, I am sure my neuroimaging results would appear similar to those of parents shown photos of their children. You get the picture. Hence, I was thrilled when I received an e-mail from the Young Lawyers Section of the Monroe County Bar Association seeking volunteers for this year’s Barktober Fest.
Going to Barktober Fest Walk for the Animals allows animal-loving attorneys to spend time with friends, family, co-workers, and our beloved four-legged fur children. The event is hosted by the Lollypop Farm, the largest animal welfare organization in the Greater Rochester area. It will take place this Saturday, Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on site at the Lollypop Farm, which is located at 99 Victor Road, in Fairport. The highlight of the event is the 1.5 mile walk, which begins at 11 a.m. There are also tons of other fun activities, including a costume contest, hot dog bobbing contest, and agility fun runs. There is a breakfast station, hots/burger station, vendors, sponsors, beer tent, and live entertainment, too.
Even if you don’t have the privilege of having your own fur children, it is likely that you have or will encounter legal issues surrounding pets at some point in your career. New York State and various municipalities have enacted licensing laws, leash laws, and spay/neuter legislation. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York Civil Rights Law protects the rights of individuals with disabilities to bring service animals into the workplace and public areas.
Much debate has arisen over a landlord’s right to restrict pets versus a tenant’s right to accommodation. New York State Orders of Protection have been expanded in recent years to include companion animals when their safety has been threatened. Pet trusts can be used to plan for a companion animal’s future. Then, of course, there’s the ongoing debate over whether the “one-bite rule” or breed-specific legislation is better equipped to combat the rise in dog-bite litigation.
So if you’re a lawyer, I suggest that you attend Barktober Fest Walk for the Animals this weekend for two reasons: (1) to do your due diligence and meet the face that may be the subject of future litigation, and (2) to practice some self-care — playing with or petting animals helps lower blood pressure and decrease stress. You owe it to yourself and your future pseudo-clients.