Joan E. Schaffner

Joan Schaffner
Associate Professor of Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Joan E. Schaffner is an Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. She received her BS in mechanical engineering (magna cum laude), JD (Order of the Coif) from the University of Southern California, and her MS in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She has presented on animal law panels and conferences world-wide. Professor Schaffner's most recent work has focused on the compassionate management of free-roaming cats. She has presented on the legal implications of community cat management at the Canadian Bar Association Professional Development Joint Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at the National Animal Care and Control Association Training Conference, American Bar Law Symposium in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and at the Illinois State Bar, Animal Law Conference in Carbondale, Illinois. Her publications on this topic include the 2019 article “The Road to TNR:  Examining Trap-Neuter-Return Through the Lens of Our Evolving Ethics,” co-authored with Peter Wolf, the review article “Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Dangerous Book,” published in September 2018 in the Journal of Animal Ethics and the article “Community Cats: Changing the Legal Paradigm for So-Called ‘Pests’” published in March 2017 in the Syracuse Law Review

Further, she is the author of 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 “Evolving Perspectives on Captive Wild Animals” in Wildlife Law and Ethics: A U.S. Perspective, “Blackfish and Public Outcry: A Unique Political and Legal Opportunity for Fundamental Change to the Legal Protection of Marine Mammals in the United States” in Animal Law and Welfare: International Perspectives; “Animal Cruelty and the Law: Permitted Conduct” in Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach; and “Valuing Nature in Environmental Law: Lessons for Animal Law and the Valuation of Animals” in What Can Animal Law Learn from Environmental Law?.

Professor Schaffner is Past Chair and Newsletter Vice-Chair, American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Animal Law Committee; Founding Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Animal Law; and Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.

In 2019, she received the ABA TIPS Andrew C. Hecker Memorial Award. In 2018, Professor Schaffner received the Excellence in Animal Law Award: Scholarship-Teaching-Service, from the AALS Animal Law Section, and in 2013, she received the ABA TIPS Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award. She was selected in 2017 as a Fellow to the American Bar Foundation. On a personal note, Joan shares her life with a magnificent group of felines.

On a personal note, Professor Schaffner shares her life and home with a magnificent group of felines.



Curriculum Vitae     Publications


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