Joan E. Schaffner

Joan Schaffner

Joan E. Schaffner

Associate Professor of Law, Faculty Co-Director Animal Legal Education Initiative


Office Phone: (202) 494-0354
Fax: (202) 994-9817
2000 H Street, NW Washington DC 20052

Joan E. Schaffner received a BS in mechanical engineering (magna cum laude) and J.D. (Order of the Coif) from the University of Southern California and a MS in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joan has taught Civil Procedure, Legislation and Regulation, Remedies and Sexuality and the Law. Ze is the editor-in-chief of the American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal.

Joan is the Faculty Co-Director of the GW Animal Legal Education initiative and advisor to the GW Animal Welfare Project and the GW Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Joan’s scholarship focuses on animal protection law. Ze has presented on animal law panels and conferences world-wide. Joan’s most recent scholarship has focused on free-roaming cats with the recent publication in Society and Animals entitled “Managing Our Relationship with Free-Roaming Cats in Zoopoland,” and the development of an international convention for animal protection with the recent article published in the Global Journal of Animal law, and co-authored with Raj Reddy, entitled “The Convention on Animal Protection: The Missing Link in a One Health Global Strategy for Pandemic Prevention.” Joan is the author of the book Introduction to Animals and the Law, co-author and editor of A Lawyer’s Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues and Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers, and author of several book chapters including “Valuing Nature in Environmental Law: Lessons for Animal Law and the Valuation of Animals” in What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law?, “Animal Cruelty and the Law: Permitted Conduct” in Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach, “Value, wild animals and law” in Animal Welfare and International Environmental Law: From Conservation to Compassion.

Joan is Publications Officer of the American Bar Association (ABA), International Law Section (ILS), Policy Vice-Chair and Past Co-Chair of the ABA ILS International Animal Law Committee; Newsletter Vice-Chair and Past Chair of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Animal Law Committee; Founding Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Animal Law; Fellow of Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics; and on the Board of the International Coalition for Animal Protection. Joan has received the ABA TIPS Andrew C. Hecker Memorial Award, the AALS Excellence in Animal Law Award: Scholarship-Teaching-Service, and the ABA TIPS Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award.  On a personal note, Joan shares zir life with a magnificent family of felines

In the News

"DC Council member proposes ‘ambitious’ pets in housing bill"

WTOP quoted Joan Schaffner and GW Law’s Animal Law Programs work with the Human Rescue Alliance “Pets in Housing Act.”

"DC Councilmember proposes bill to cap pet fees, end dog breed restrictions in housing"

WJLA featured Joan Schaffner and featured the “Pets in Housing Act” written by GW Law’s Animal Law Program.

"2023’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities"

Joan Schaffner is quoted in the WalletHub as serving as their expert on questions about the best ways to raise a furry friend.

BS, JD, University of Southern California; MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • 6212 - Civil Procedure
  • 6209 - Legislation and Regulation