Joan Schaffner

George Washington University Law School

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George Washington University Law School


Joan E. Schaffner, J.D., is an Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School.  She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering (magna cum laude) and J.D. (Order of the Coif) from the University of Southern California and her M.S. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Joan has presented on animal law panels and conferences world-wide. Most recently, in October 2017, Joan presented on the legal implications of community cat management at the National Animal Care and Control Association Training Conference, ABA Shelter Law Program, and in February 2018 at the Illinois State Bar, Animal Law Conference in Carbondale, Illinois.  Joan’s most recent article published March 2017 in the Syracuse Law Review is “Community Cats: Changing the Legal Paradigm for So-Called ‘Pests.’” 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?.  Joan 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. On January 4, 2018, Joan received the Excellence in Animal Law Award: Scholarship-Teaching-Service, from the AALS Animal Law Section. In August 2013, she received the ABA TIPS Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award.  Joan 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.


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