Katherine Orr, a law student at Temple University Beasley School of Law, was selected to receive the 2018 Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship; a $5,400 annual award presented to a law school student or young lawyer pursuing an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities, legal training or law practice.
Named after Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik, a talented lawyer and passionate animal advocate, the scholarship was created by Bednarik’s husband Joseph with help from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. Bednarik was the founder and first chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Animal Law Committee, and the course planner for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’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 notorious puppy mills. On weekends, Bednarik and her husband regularly transported homeless dogs to no-kill shelters and foster and forever homes, and when Hurricane Katrina struck, they traveled to Louisiana to help rescue dogs abandoned by the storm in New Orleans.
Orr has been involved in animal welfare for the past decade and it was a driving force in her decision to pursue law school. She plans on continuing this passion in her legal career by protecting the welfare of animals through advocating for new laws and policies, as well as participating in pro bono work to enforce those laws.
At Beasley School of Law, Orr serves as the president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, which was established last year. In this role, she intends to create and distribute education materials regarding pets and housing rights to law students participating in the Housing Mediation program, work with the Philadelphia Bar Association and local animal welfare groups to lobby against the last carriage horse company in Philadelphia and strive to get more plant-based dining options on campus. She is also a member of the PBA Animal Law Committee.
Outside of the legal community, Orr has driven more than 1,000 dogs from high-kill shelters in the south to foster-based rescues in Pa. and N.J. through her rescue transport work. She regularly participates in short-term fostering for a destination rescue in Pa. and is an active volunteer at Street Tails Animal Rescue in Philadelphia where she regularly walks and cares for the shelter’s dogs and is a member of its Events Committee. In addition, Orr has planned and coordinated successful fundraisers for Justice Rescue and Street Tails Animal Rescue.
The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as part of its Advised Fund enabling donor advisement on charitable distributions. For more information, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.