Law Alumni Professor of Law and Director of Space, Cyber, and Telecom Law Program
207 LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-1238 | Email
Areas of Expertise
- International Law
- International Trade Law
- International Business Transactions
- American Foreign Affairs Law and Policy
- Introduction to American Legal System
- Space Law
- Cyber Law
- S.J.D., University of Michigan Law School
- L.L.M., International Law, University of Michigan Law School
- J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, University of Michigan Law School
- B.A., with Honors, Economics and General Honors, University of Chicago
- Director Space and Telecommunications Law Program, 2006
- Professor of Law, 2004
- Associate Professor of Law, 2001
- Assistant Professor of Law, 1995
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. In 2012, he led efforts to have the Law College adopt a required first-year course in international law, and currently co-teaches the course with Professors Lepard and Beard. With his required upper-level course in international law for LL.M. students, virtually no University of Nebraska student obtains a J.D. or LL.M. degree without being taught the basics of international law, and the intersection of international law with the US legal system, by Professor Schaefer.
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.
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 (6 thus far) and Lincoln, NE (7 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, University of Southern California. He taught what is believe to be the first combined course in space and cyber law at a US law school during the Summer of 2012 at the University of San Diego law school. He has presented on space law topics internationally, including at the European Center for Space Law in Paris, the International Institute of Space Law (in Glasgow, Scotland and Naples, Italy). Space law is one major thread of Professor Schaefer’s scholarship. He is the author a 40-page white paper on commercial space liability issues that is being circulated among Congress, the White House, NASA, as well as industry, and that was the focus of the program’s 6th Annual Washington, DC conference in November 2013. 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 Space.com 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 serves on the advisory board of the Canada-U.S. Law Institute. In his role as co-chair of the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA) Space Law Committee, he organized, moderated and presented on a panel on “Regulating and Incentivizing New Commercial Space Markets” at the International Law Weekend – Midwest (at Washington Univ. in St. Louis Law School) and organized, moderated and presented on a panel on “Complexities of Regulating the Space Domain by Analogy to Other Domains’ Legal Regimes” at the International Law Weekend (at Fordham University Law School) during the Fall 2013 semester. 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.
Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Schaefer served as an international trade consultant to the National Governors' Association and Western Governors' Association in Washington, D.C. during the legislative implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and GATT Uruguay Round multilateral trade agreement. He has also served as a consultant to two members of the European parliament in Brussels, Belgium and the states of Hawaii, Texas, and Utah. The other major thread of Professor Schaefer’s scholarship focuses on the inter-relationship between federalism and international and foreign relations law as well as international trade agreements. His most recent article in this arena is “Constraints on State-Level Foreign Policy: (Re)Justifying, Refining, and Distinguishing the Dormant Foreign Affairs Doctrine,” 41 Seton Hall L. Rev. 201-318 (2011), the longest published law review article of the year.
Professor Schaefer also was the lead person at the Law College in administering an international trade policy, economics and law-related program in during 2012 and 2013 under a Clayton Yeutter International Trade grant through the US Department of Commerce. The programming included several distinguished international trade law lectures and seminars by visiting distinguished lecturers, including former director of the WTO legal division William Davey, Chair of Sidley and Austin’s DC international trade practice group Andy Shoyer, and Vice-President of Rock Creek Global Advisors Michael Smart.
Law 640/G (POLS 869) (1-4 cr) Nature and sources of international law, its effect on the diplomatic, military, economic, and cultural activities of states, international organizations, private associations, and individuals.
International Trade Law
Law 671/G (1-4 cr) Students who have taken LAW 668G may not enroll in this course. This class may be taught in alternate years with International Trade and Transactions. Central theme of this field of law is the tension between generally accepted economic theories which support free trade as a means of increasing economic efficiency and raising standards of living for all trading partners, and the non-economic objectives that must be balanced against those principles. Includes: international monetary, development and trade policy; customs law, legal restraints on fair and unfair international trade practices; international transfers of intellectual property rights; and the regulation of foreign investment.
International Business Transactions
Law 673/G (1-4 cr) Students who have taken LAW 668G may not enroll in this course. Regulation of international trade by private parties through contractual arrangements. Contract formation and interpretation; dispute resolution; letters of credit and other transfers of payment; insurance; transportation; and countertrade arrangements. Contract negotiating and drafting exercise.
American Foreign Affairs Law and Policy Seminar
Law 750/G (3 cr) Prereq: Previous enrollment in an international law course recommended. Structural and organizational issues related to United States foreign policymaking such as separation of powers and federalism. United States foreign policy in substantive areas such as the war on terror, non-proliferation, trade, foreign aid, global warming, relations with the European Union, and relations with Latin America.
Introduction to Law, Legal Process, and Legislation
Law 511/G (EDAD *872) (3 cr I) How law is made and changed, the role of the individual, the business corporation, the private association, the administrative agency, the voting public, the legislature, and the courts in making and changing law.
Law 748/G (3 cr) Lec 3. Space law and policy for intelligence gathering and weaponization, telecommunications, satellite launch, space tourism, and remote sensing. Application of five major international space treaties to regulation of modern space activities and arms control agreements. New and growing problems of orbital debris, protection of in-space assets and terrorism.
- “Liability Issues Regarding Third Parties and Space Flight Participants in Commercial Space Activities: The Path Forward,” UNL Space Law White Paper, Dec. 2, 2013 (40 Pages).
- “Analogues Between Space Law And Law Of The Sea/International Maritime Law: Can Space Law Usefully Borrow Or Adapt Rules From These Other Areas Of Public International Law?” 55th IISL Colloquia on the Law of Outer Space (2012)
- “Promoting Commodity Exports Through Governor-Led Trade Missions: Governors’ Constitutionally Permissible (and WTO Permissible) Role of Exporter-in-Chief,” Annual Proceedings of the American Society of International Law (2012)
- “Constraints on State-Level Foreign Policy: (Re)Justifying, Refining and Distinguishing the Dormant Foreign Affairs Doctrine,” Seton Hall Law Review, Vol 41, pp. 201-318 (Feb. 2011).
- "Lenses Through Which to View, Assess and Guide the Degree of Formalism in Space Regulation" 51st Colloquia of the International Institute of Space Law (2008).
- "Ensuring that Regional Trade Agreements Complement the WTO System: US Unilateralism a Supplement to WTO Initiatives?," Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 10 (2007).
- “Complexities of Regulation the Outer Space Domain by Analogy to Other Domains,” ABILA International Law Weekend (NYC)(October 25, 2013).
- “Space Debris Remediation Markets – Are They Possible?,” Washington Univ. in St. Louis Law School/American Branch of International Law Association – International Law Weekend Midwest (September 20, 2013).
- “Liability Issues in Commercial Space Industry: The Pathway Forward,” to USC Law School Space Law Society (September 11, 2013), University of Florida Law School International Law Society (September 17, 2013), New York University Law School International Law Society (September 25, 2013), and Columbia University Law School International Law Society (October 28, 2013).
- “Space Debris and the Law of Salvage Adapted & Commercial Space Law Update,” presentation to University of Denver Law School Space Law Society and International Law Society, April 10, 2013 (Denver, CO).
- Panelist, Law of the Sea Regime and Law of Outer Space Regime Compared, Roundtable Discussion, ABILA International Law Weekend, Oct. 26, 2012 (New York City, NY).
- “Analogues Between Space Law And Law Of The Sea/International Maritime Law: Can Space Law Usefully Borrow Or Adapt Rules From These Other Areas Of Public International Law?,” presentation to the International Astronautical Congress/International Institute of Space Law, Oct. 3, 2012 (Naples, Italy).
- “Promoting Commodity Exports Through Governor-Led Trade Missions: Governors’ Constitutionally Permissible (and WTO Permissible) Role of Exporter-in-Chief,” presentation to 106th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, March 30, 2012 (Washington, D.C.).
- “Space Odyssey 2030: The Future of Commercial Space Activities and the Role of Space Law,” presentation to University of Michigan Space Law Society, March 7, 2012 (Ann Arbor, MI).
- “Space Law and the Role of Analogy: The Case of the Law of the Sea and International Maritime Law – Major Common Principles and the Law of Salvage as Applied to Space Debris,” presentation to Tulane University Law School Maritime Law Society, February 29, 2012 (New Orleans, LA).
- “International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Impact on Space Debris Remediation and Satellite Refueling Technologies,” presentation to UNL 5th Annual Omaha Space and Cyber Law Seminar, November 14, 2011 (Omaha,NE) (updated based on discussion in Montreal 3 days prior). (Also presented an even more updated version to UNL Faculty Colloquia Feb. 23, 2012).
- “International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Impact on Space Debris Remediation and Satellite Refueling Technologies,” presentation to International Space Debris Remediation Congress, Nov. 11, 2011 (Montreal, Canada).
- “Space Law’s Need to Adapt to an Increasingly Commercial Environment and Other Future Challenges,” presentation to University of Michigan Law School International Law Journal and Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, October 27, 2011 (Ann Arbor, MI).
- “Space Law in the 21st Century: Commercialization of Space,” presentation to Columbia Law School International Law Society, October 24, 2011; Fordham Law School Journal of International Law, October 25, 2011; and Brooklyn Law School, October 25, 2011 (New York City, NY).
- “Space Law: The Outer Reaches and Inward Reaching of International Law,” presentation to the International Law Society and Environmental Law Society in new law building at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, April 13, 2011 (San Diego, CA).
- “Space Law: Some Analogies to Maritime Law and the Application of Space Law to Real World Events,” presentation to the International Law Society at Loyola New Orleans Law School, April 7, 2011 (New Orleans, LA).
- “Reflections on State Space Activity Liability Immunity Legislation, Preemption, and International Harmonization,” commentary on LL.M. Thesis Presentation at UNL Space and Cyber Mini-Conference to International Law Society and Other Interested Students at University of Michigan Law School, April 5, 2011 (Ann Arbor, MI).
- “Space Law: Past, Current, and Future,” Inaugural Address to Founding Members of Space Law Society at University of California-Irvine School of Law (and several faculty members), March 30, 2011 (Irvine, California).
- “Cyber Attacks, Rules on Use of Force, and Analogies to the War on Terrorism and Malicious Actions in the Space Domain,” presentation at Fordham University Law School conference on Cyber Attacks: International Cyber Security in the 21st Century, February 25, 2011 (New York City, NY).
- "Space Law's Relationship to General International Law, Foreign Relations Law and Basic Legal Principles," presentation to Northwestern University Law School International Law Society, September 25, 2009 (Chicago, IL) and Chicago-Kent College of Law International Programs, September 24, 2009 (Chicago, IL).
- "Space Law: Reflections on Developments Since the 1980 Jessup Moot Court Problem and Future Developments" presentation to panel at the International Law Students Association Annual Meeting, March 27, 2009 (Washington, D.C.).
- "Space Law Within a Broader US Foreign Policy and Economic Policy Setting," presentation to University of Michigan Law School, December 5, 2008 (Ann Arbor, MI).
- "Space Law Update 2008: Military, Civilian, and Commercial Examples," presentation to the International Law Association's International Law Weekend, October 17, 2008 & Fordham Law School Global Law Society, October 16, 2008 (New York City).
- "Lenses Through Which to View, Assess, and Guide the Degree of Formalism in Space Regulation," presentation to the International Astronautical Congress/International Institute of Space Law Annual Meeting, October 3, 2008 (Glasgow, Scotland).
- "Overview of Space and Telecommunications Law: Capstone' Courses" presentations to UMKC Law School (January 2008), Creighton Law School (February 2008), and University of Denver (March 2008).