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Nicole Paquette: General Counsel and Director of Legal and Government Affairs for the Animal Protection Institute, Sacramento, CA

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Paquette, who is now General Counsel and Director of Legal and Government Affairs for the Animal Protection Institute (API), initially considered specializing in women's law. However, after researching law school programs, she became interested in animal law. "I realized that there were a lot more women's lawyers than animal lawyers, and I felt that the animals needed my voice more than probably women did," Paquette said.
 
Nicole Paquette: General Counsel and Director of Legal and Government Affairs for the Animal Protection Institute, Sacramento, CA

Disregarding the advice of many counselors, Paquette interned with animal groups while she attended Vermont Law School. "[Many people said] I should have interned at large firms, so I could at least be guaranteed a job," Paquette explained. But her work at nonprofits helped her realize that she did not want to work for a big corporation or law firm. Instead, she wanted to work for a nonprofit that was helping animals.


 
"Be persistent because there aren't a lot of jobs out there. At some point, when you know you really want to work in the animal field, it may seem like it's never going to happen, but if you keep pushing and you keep pursuing various organizations, the likelihood of it happening is greater than one would think," Paquette said.
 

Her hard work for nonprofit animal groups ultimately paid off. Just one year after graduation, equipped with the proper experience and connections, Paquette accepted the position of Government Affairs Coordinator at the Animal Protection Institute, a national nonprofit organization that works to protect animal rights.

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