Matthew Schaefer

Visiting Professor

J.D. (Magna cum laude), LL.M., S.J.D., 1991, 1993, 1998, University of Michigan Law School
B.A. with honors, 1987, University of Chicago


Professor Matthew Schaefer has nearly two decades of law teaching experience and has taught courses in international law, international trade law, international business transactions, foreign relations law and policy, space law, and cyber law. During the 1999 calendar year, Professor Schaefer served as a director in the International Economic Affairs Office of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House. He was the principal staff member responsible for the formulation, coordination and implementation of U.S. foreign policy as it relates to international economic issues. In his role as a director, he prepared senior NSC officials for meetings with the President and foreign dignitaries, briefed the President in advance of EU-US Summits, and assisted in the development of international trade policy recommendations, including exempting food and medicine from US sanctions regimes, and seeking resolution of major trade disputes with the European Union.

In February 2006, Professor Schaefer was named inaugural Director of the USA's first degree-bearing Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program, and has continued as director of the program ever since. He was integrally involved in gaining University and external approval for the LLM degree (in 2006-07), developing the curriculum, hiring permanent faculty and adjunct faculty for the program, creating the Advisory Board and Alumni Council for the program, and gaining University and external approval for the online version of the LLM degree (in 2011).  He is the principal organizer of the program’s annual conferences in Washington, D.C (7 thus far) and Lincoln, NE (8 thus far).  He has also organized regional conferences on space and cyber law in Omaha (in conjunction with US Strategic Command’s Space and Cyber Symposium), San Diego, CA and Ann Arbor, MI. He was the principle investigator (PI) responsible for administering a $1.71 million NASA grant from 2008-2011 that helped launch the program.

Professor Schaefer is a frequent speaker on current topics in space law across the country, including at the University of Michigan Law School, Fordham Law School, Columbia Law School, New York University Law School, University of California-Irvine Law School, University of Southern California Law School, Emory University Law School, and University of Florida Law School.  Just in the past year, Professor Schaefer has moderated, presented and/or participated on panels at numerous national or international conferences – the Space Foundation’s Space Technology and Investment Forum 2015, IAA Heads of Space Agency Summit 2014, AIAA Space 2014, 30th National Space Sympoisum 2014, ABILA International Law Weekend 2013, 8th IISL Eileen Galloway Symposium 2013, 7th Annual UNL DC Space Law Conference 2013, Newspace 2014,  65th International Astronautical Congress 2014.  He taught a course in commercial space law at Washington University Law School in St. Louis in September 2014.

Space law is one major thread of Professor Schaefer’s scholarship. He is the author a 50-page article on commercial space liability issues that was published in Berkeley Journal of International Law and was circulated among Congress, the White House, NASA, as well as industry.  The article was the focus of the program’s 6th Annual Washington, DC conference in November 2013 and Congress adopted several major recommendations in the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, signed into law by President Obama in November 2015. A revised version of the article is being published in Berkeley Journal of International Law in early 2015.  His article on space debris presented to the IISL in Naples in 2012 drew interest from the Japanese Space Agency and NASA. Professor Schaefer has appeared on FOX News (national) TV and been quoted in and the New Scientist on commercial space law topics.

Professor Schaefer is a graduate of the University of Chicago (B.A.) and the University of Michigan Law School (J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, L.L.M. in international law, S.J.D.). During his law studies, he received the William W. Bishop, Jr. Award for performance with distinction in the field of international law and also served an externship at the U.S. State Department-Office of the Legal Advisor. He studied at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia under a Ford Foundation Fellowship.

Professor Schaefer is a former term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations and also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Academic Outreach Advisory Board. He serves on the board of editors of the Journal of International Economic Law, and also served previously on the advisory board of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute.  Professor Schaefer is also member of space law committee of International Law Association as well as a member of the International Institute of Space Law.  Professor Schaefer blogs on space  law matters at and can be followed on twitter @lawofschaefer.

At Miami Law he teaches Space Law: Regulating and Incentivizing Private Commercial Activities In Outer Space.

Faculty Assistant

Gomez, Michelle

Phone: (305)284-3910
Office: G287

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