MSU Law student honored with animal law award

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

With a love of animals, it’s no surprise to find MSU Law 3L student Lauren Duguid is passionate about animal law.

“They don’t have a voice, so humans must use theirs to protect them,” Duguid says. “They have feelings and play a critical role in our lives. To help avoid cruelty through the law is critical because they would otherwise go ignored. Law is a powerful tool that can be used to ensure their welfare.”

Duguid is one of two recipients of the State Bar of Michigan’s Wanda A. Nash Award, named after the founder of the SBM Animal Law Section. The annual award, that she will receive on May 9, recognizes a 3L law student at a Michigan law school for substantial contributions to animal law. The co-recipient is Eli Massey from the University of Michigan Law School.

“I’m extremely honored to receive the award,” says Duguid, who was nominated by Animal Law Fellow Angie Vega. “I worked hard this year to make the organization the best it possibly could be. I built an e-board with students passionate about animals and using the law to help them. We were all dedicated to the cause and did everything we could to educate the student body about the importance of animals, nature, and protecting both. I’m honored the org is being recognized by the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section.”

Serving as president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund this year—where she previously served as treasurer—Duguid was instrumental in recruiting 15 additional students, while also helping raise more than $300 for the Capital Area Humane Society.

“Being the president of SALDF this year has made my law school experience so much fun. I was constantly inspired by the e-board and general body,” she says. “Creating a community of people who love animals and want to use the law to protect them has made my job very easy. Everyone wanted to participate and help those without a voice.”

Duguid recalls that in her childhood, her father set up an aquarium tank in her room, catching praying mantises, salamanders, and other creatures to inhabit it. Duguid learned about the creatures and the important role they play in the ecosystem.

“He would also name every spider we saw in our house ‘Harmless’ and allow our ‘pet’ spider outside after watching it for a while,” she says.

Next up was a hamster named Cody, gifted to her in elementary school. After he died, she set her sights on a puppy from a litter from her grandmother’s dog in Poland.

“When I was visiting my Babcia, I asked my mother if I could keep one. Long story short, I flew home from Poland with my first dog, Lola. Lola and I were always together and I spent my entire childhood with her,” says Duguid, who has shared her law school years with a cat named Stella.

Duguid became passionate about the law from a young age, when there was always some sort of court or political channel playing on the TV.

“I was inspired by the lawyers who used their careers to change people’s lives and get them the help they needed,” she says. “I took classes in high school and undergrad that were law-focused, which helped me know that law was my life calling. I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and law is the perfect way to zealously fight for people's rights.”

She earned a bachelor of science degree in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Illinois, and minored in Criminology, Law, and Society, before heading to MSU Law in 2021.  In addition to the SALDF, she has served as head representative for the independent Bar preparation course BARBRI; as president of the Public Interest Law Society; and as marketing chair for the Women's Law Caucus. She particularly appreciates the feeling of community at the law school.

“Everyone is here to help you succeed and is your biggest cheerleader,” she says. “The professors are inspiring, and the students are passionate and hard-working. I’m so proud to be a part of this year’s graduating class, as I know everyone will be using their degrees to help change the world for the better.”

Highlights of law school include interning at the Ingham County Probate Court in the summer of 2022.

“I enjoyed watching lawyers fight for what they believe in, as well as helping prepare documents for various people in the courtroom,” she says.

Her 2L year also saw her interning at the MSU Law Immigration Clinic, zealously fighting for her clients to stay in the country and seeing her work make an impact on clients.

She spent last summer clerking for Fidelity National Title in Omaha, Neb., with 13 other clerks who became close friends and gave her a deeper insight into various law subjects.

She has externed in her final semester in the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division at the Michigan Department of Attorney General.

Duguid will move from Okemos to Muskegon in July, to start her post-grad career by working in the Family Court Division of the Prosecutor’s Office.

“I will be helping children who are victims of child abuse and neglect. I know I’ll be fulfilling my career goals, as it will help keep the children safe and hold parents accountable,” she says.
“My career goals are to help people through the law. I wish to use my degree to help make people’s lives better and the community safer as a whole.”

In her leisure time, this native of Barrington, Ill., enjoys traveling, painting, hiking, and skiing.

She has happy memories of study abroad in Poland, her mother’s native country. In 2019, she spent two months interning at an international law firm in Krakow that helped seek asylum for refugees, and studied at Jagiellonian University.

“Growing up, I would spend my summers visiting my family. When I was given the chance to study abroad at Jagiellonian, I jumped at the opportunity,” she says.

“During my semester there, I was able to spend time with my family, immerse myself in my family’s culture, and see Poland from a different point of view. Seeing it as a tourist, rather than a family visitor, was a completely different experience.”

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