The Animal Defense Partnership was founded by David Ebert and Joel Litvin, both accomplished lawyers. They went to the same undergraduate and law schools a year apart, lived in the same small town, stood on the same commuter train platform morning after morning, and coached their daughter’s rec basketball teams – including in an epic championship game against each other - but somehow managed to avoid actually meeting.
In 2016 a mutual friend put them in touch, knowing of their shared interest in animal protection. They had no choice but to meet, which they did, at what was to become ADP’s first offices (see below). Although they were both deeply committed to actively participating in animal protection, they lacked a vehicle by which to contribute their legal skills and experience.
With a combined 60+ years of lawyering, they jointly developed the concept of an organization akin to a law firm that would devote itself exclusively to taking on the legal function for “front line” animal protection organizations. And Joel and David were determined to provide their services entirely pro bono. They envisioned an organization, the sole purpose of which was to relieve animal protection charities of the considerable time, expense and uncertainty that burden all nonprofit organizations in the scramble to meet their day-to-day and longer-term operational legal needs. By taking on these critical needs, ADP would enable its clients to devote more of their scarce resources to their mission, rather than legal matters and attorney fees.
Almost immediately after opening ADP’s virtual doors, David and Joel found providing high-quality free legal services to animal protection nonprofits to be a very easy sell - they became very busy, very quickly.
ADP is the “outside general counsel” for 100+ animal protection nonprofits throughout the U.S. and in parts of Africa, Canada and Germany. In broad strokes, ADP’s clients are devoted to three critical segments of the larger animal protection movement: (1) advocating for animals; (2) running sanctuaries and rescues; and (3) supporting and advocating plant-based eating and diet change. By providing its services pro bono, from inception to date ADP has saved its clients more than $2,000,000 in legal fees.
ADP's Inaugural Offices
The Dobbs Diner
Westchester, New York 2016
ADP Board & Staff 2021
Back: David Ebert, Judith Turkel, Joel Litvin, Jaclyn Leeds, Helena Bouchard
Front: Stephanie Jeshiva, Anjali Sareen
ADP Board 2021
Stephanie Jeshiva, Joel Litvin, Judith Turkel, David Ebert