This year, Joel W. Glazer and Samantha Sandfort will share equally in the $5,400 scholarship award created to celebrate the life and life’s work of Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik, the gifted lawyer and animal advocate.
Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik is remembered as a talented lawyer and passionate animal advocate whose enthusiasm, positive outlook and generous and adventurous spirit were an inspiration to all who knew her. She was the founder and the first chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Animal Law Committee, and the course planner for the PBI’s first Animal Law Conference in 2004. She taught the first Animal Law course offered by Penn State Dickinson Law and served as a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board that worked to pass stricter laws for Pennsylvania’s puppy mills. On weekends, she and her husband Joseph Bednarik, Esq. transported homeless dogs to no-kill shelters and to foster and forever homes, and when Hurricane Katrina struck, she and Joe traveled to Louisiana to help rescue dogs abandoned by the storm in New Orleans.
When Patti passed in 2013, Joe established the Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Fund with the help of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. The fund provides for an annual award of $5,400 to a law student or young lawyer working to protect animals as part of his/her law school training or legal practice. Patti’s legacy is perpetuated by this scholarship and by its recipients. This year, Joel W. Glazer and Samantha Sandfort will share equally in the $5,400 scholarship award.
As noted in her scholarship application, Samantha Sandfort, a 2019 J.D. candidate at the University of Texas School of Law, is just “four short semesters away from becoming an animal rights attorney!” Ms. Sandfort, however, has been an animal advocate since becoming a vegetarian at age 14, the result of an eighth grade research project that revealed the violence and horrors of the slaughterhouse floor and the benefits of a plant-based diet. The epiphany launched a vegetarian and animal rights club at her school, her vegan lifestyle and a lifelong career of volunteerism that has included: working at animal shelters; working as a litigation paralegal in the legal department of the PETA Foundation; serving as the co-president of the University of Texas Student Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter; externing with the Friends of Animal Wildlife Law Program to work on litigation that impacts wildlife populations and the environment; and volunteering with the Lobby for Animals, an organization that monitors pending legislation affecting animal rights, educates constituents about bills and provides letters and talking point templates to build grassroot support for legislation that helps animals. There is no doubt that Ms. Sandfort will be using her law degree to find creative ways to use the law to help animals.
Joel W. Glazer is a rising 2L at Temple University Beasley School of Law. While his animal connection does not date back to 8th grade, his devotion to animal welfare is no less passionate. The civil and environmental engineering graduate of the University of Cincinnati came to animal welfare through adoption, welcoming his first cat Lou in 2013. Soon he and his wife were volunteering for Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, fostering 60 kittens and adults cats over the course of a year and a half, and learning firsthand, through his work with the shelter’s pro bono attorney, how lawyers use their voices to defend and protect voiceless animals. Mr. Glazer plans to use the scholarship funds to establish the Temple Animal Law Society to educate and promote animal law among the student population. Additionally, he wants to devote a portion of the funds to assisting New Life Animal Rescue in Marlton NJ with the purchase of animal care items like new animal beds, bowls, towels and toys to help make adoptions more affordable and appealing. After law school he intends to provide pro bono services to animal shelters, in service to the animals and to the non-profit entities, and to use his position in the legal community to perform research, publish relevant articles and teach others how to identify and report animal abuse.
Ms. Samantha Sandfort and Mr. Joel Glazer possess many of the qualities that made the Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik an extraordinary advocate for animals. The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation and the PBA Animal Law Committee commend their efforts and look forward to their impact on Animal Law in Pennsylvania and beyond.
(L-R) PBA Animal Law Vice Chair Elissa Barbara Katz, 2017 Bednarik Scholarship recipient Joel Glazer, Foundation Life Fellow Jessie Smith, Animal Law Committee Chair Gregg Miller and Foundation Executive Director Marie Queen at the 14th Annual Animal Law Conference