Mary Hollingsworth has been named director of Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic, effective Jan. 1.

Hollingsworth was most recently a senior trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, where she has worked since 2011. She has more than a decade of experience litigating cases arising under the Endangered Species Act in federal courts across the country.

At the Department of Justice, Hollingsworth led efforts to enforce the civil components of federal animal welfare statutes, including in United States v. Lowe, United States v. Gingerich, and United States v. Envigo.

Kristen Stilt, professor of law and faculty director of the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program, said: “Mary brings extraordinary leadership to the clinic and, along with our strong clinic team, will provide students with an unparalleled opportunity to work on the most impactful animal law cases and projects of our times. She was a star at the Department of Justice and will continue to light up and inspire everyone around her at HLS. We are grateful to Kathy Meyer, now of counsel, for leading our clinic in its founding years, and to Rachel Mathews, clinical instructor, for leading the clinic during the search for Mary.”

“Mary Hollingsworth’s work at the Department of Justice was trailblazing,” said Andrew Mergen, visiting assistant clinical professor of law and faculty director of the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. “Throughout her career she has worked tirelessly on behalf of animals. Harvard students and clinic clients will greatly benefit from her expertise.”

Hollingsworth twice received the John Marshall Award for Asset Forfeiture. In 2023, she was recognized for her role in the Lowe litigation, which resulted in Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe permanently losing their interests in over 130 federally protected animals, and, in 2017, she was honored for developing and implementing a strategy for pursing civil forfeiture actions to transfer ownership of dogs seized from those suspected of engaging in illegal dogfighting operations. Her other awards include the 2021 USDA General Counsel Award for outstanding DOJ attorney and a 2022 Assistant Attorney General Award for Excellence.

Last June, she taught animal welfare law at Vermont Law School.

“I am honored to be joining Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program as the clinic director,” said Hollingsworth. “I am looking forward to working with HLS students to advance animal protection in the law and to prepare them for the myriad challenges that still face those advocating on behalf of animals.”

Nirva Patel, executive director of the Animal Law & Policy Program, said: “Mary’s enthusiasm and decade of experience in animal protection will provide exciting leadership for students, our staff and the HLS community at large. We are thrilled to welcome Mary to the team.” 

She received a B.A. in Political Science and Russian & East European Studies from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Arizona College of Law. After law school, she clerked for Justice Michael Ryan of the Arizona Supreme Court and Judge Murray Snow of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona before joining the U.S. Department of Justice through the Honors Program.

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