Charis Nick-Torok is a NYS licensed attorney, with a JD in law from Albany Law School and a masters in bioethics from Union Graduate College – Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. She also holds certificates in federal emergency response protocols for people and animals (FEMA) and NYC Animal Care and Handling laws. In addition to her solo practice assisting grass-root animal rescues and shelters, she divides her time between teaching and providing pro bono assistance on international, federal and state legal projects for various NGOs, including most recently The Earth Law Institute. She is the Vice Chair of the NYS Bar Committee on Animals & Law (COAL); the Co-Chair of the COAL Education subcommittee, and an active member of the COAL Legislation subcommittee, as well as a member of the Legislative subcommittee, where she drafted several support memos for animal-related bills that were subsequently signed into NYS law. Outside of academics, Ms. Nick-Torok presents Continuing Legal Education courses related to animal law and legislation, and provides public service education on issues related to NYS animal cruelty laws and disaster planning for vulnerable populations and pets.
Prior to dedicating her professional activities to her life-long passion for animals a few years ago, Ms. Nick-Torok’s solo practice focused on issues and concerns related to end-of-life care, mental health, medical ethics and health law. In her role as an attorney-ethicist, Ms. Nick-Torok served for several years as a clinical ethicist for a regional hospital ethics committee and as a board member for several public and mental health associations, and published articles related to bioethics and law. Early in her legal career she served as a special project staff attorney for the New York State Law Revision Commission, and as a Post Graduate Fellow in Law, Ethics & Health policy at the Hastings Center, in Garrison, NY.
In addition to her law related activities and teaching for the University of Florida’s Wildlife Forensic Science College of Medicine, Ms. Nick-Torok has over ten years’ experience developing and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in health law ethics and Human-Animal Interaction for the School of Health Sciences at Excelsior College in Albany, NY.