Joan E. Schaffner

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


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) and JD (Order of the Coif) from the University of Southern California and her M.S. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an inactive member of the California Bar and an active member of the D.C. Bar. Professor Schaffner worked at the law firm of Irell & Manella in Los Angeles California and clerked for the Honorable Marianna Pfaelzer in the Central District of California before coming to GW Law. 

Professor Schaffner teaches Civil Procedure, Remedies, Sexuality and the Law, and a seminar on Animal Protection Law. She is the faculty advisor to Lambda Law, the GLBT student organization at GW, and is faculty advisor and editor-in-chief of theAmerican Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal

Professor Schaffner directs the GW Animal Law focus area which consists of the GW Animal Welfare Project (AWP), a pro bono effort of faculty and students devoted to researching and improving the lives of animal through the law; seminars in animal law; and a student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF). She also coordinates the Animal Law Lawyering Project which provides students with outside placements in the animal law field. Additionally, Professor Schaffner has presented on animal law panels at conferences world-wide. 

Professor Schaffner's most recent book entitled Introduction to Animals and the Lawwas published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2011 as part of their Animal Ethics Series. She is a co-author and editor of two books published by the American Bar Association: A Lawyer's Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues (2009) and Litigating Animal Law Disputes: A Complete Guide for Lawyers (2009) and is author of the chapters “Animal Cruelty and the Law: Permitted Conduct” in Animal Cruelty: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Carolina Academic Press 2013) and “Laws and Policy to Address the Link of Family Violence” in The Link Between Animal Abuse and Humane Violence (Sussex Academic Press 2009). Professor Schaffner is active in various organizations including: Past Chair and Newsletter Vice-Chair, ABA TIPS Animal Law Committee; Founding Chair of the AALS Section on Animal Law; and Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. In August 2013 Professor Schaffner received the Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award from the American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section.

On a personal note, Professor Schaffner is a volunteer and foster for the Washington Humane Society. She shares her life and home with a magnificent group of felines and Rocky, an African Grey parrot.

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