Matthew Liebman

Matthew Liebman

Associate Professor and Chair of the Justice for Animals Program


Professor Matthew Liebman joined the USF faculty in 2020 as the endowed Justice for Animals chair and as an associate professor of law. Before coming to USF, Matthew practiced law for 12 years with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, including three years as the organization’s director of litigation. At ALDF, Professor Liebman litigated a wide variety of animal protection issues, including cases to defend the First Amendment rights of activists and to establish fundamental legal rights for nonhuman animals.

Professor Liebman’s practical experience inspires his scholarship, which examines the socio-legal effects of law and litigation in the animal rights movement, as well as various substantive and doctrinal issues in animal law. Professor Liebman’s current research explores the need to empower nonhuman animals by establishing their legal rights, while grappling with the ethical challenges of providing legal representation to those who cannot speak in the language of the law. 

Professor Liebman is a frequent media commentator on animal law issues. With Bruce Wagman, Professor Liebman co-authored the book A Worldview of Animal Law, which examines how the legal systems of different countries govern our interactions with animals. Professor Liebman’s writing has also appeared or will appear in the Minnesota Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, the Animal Law Review, the Stanford Environmental Law Journal, and the Journal of Animal Law. Professor Liebman clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


  • Animal law
  • Professional responsibility/Legal ethics
  • Law & social movements


  • Stanford University, JD, 2006 (with distinction)
  • University of Texas at Austin, BA in Plan II and Philosophy, 2001 (with highest honors)

Prior Experience

  • Director of Litigation, Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Clerk, Honorable Warren J. Ferguson, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Law Review and Journal Articles

  • "Animal Plaintiffs," 108  Minnesota Law Review (2024).
  • "Litigation & Liberation," 49 Ecology Law Quarterly 101 (2023).
  • “Who the Judge Ate for Breakfast: On the Limits of Creativity in Animal Law and the Redeeming Power of Powerlessness,” 18 Animal L. 133 (2011).
  • “A WORLDVIEW OF ANIMAL LAW,” Carolina Academic Press (with Bruce Wagman) (2011).