Chris A. Shafer

Chris A. Shafer


B.S. Michigan State University 1973
M.S. Michigan State University 1975
J.D., magna cum laude, Thomas M. Cooley Law School 1993

Professor Shafer joined the Cooley staff in December 1996 as a Visiting Professor. Previously, from 1993-1996, he served as an adjunct professor teaching classes in Water Law and Environmental Law. Professor Shafer primarily teaches Constitutional Law and Water Law, but has also taught Property II and Federal Administrative Law.

Prior to joining the Cooley staff, Professor Shafer supervised the Great Lakes Shorelands Section in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for 16 years. This section regulated construction in high risk erosion and flood hazard areas, coastal wetlands and critical dunes along the shoreline and construction activities on the public trust bottomlands of the Great Lakes.

Since joining the faculty at Cooley, Professor Shafer served as an expert witness and legal consultant on water law and federal jurisdiction in Michigan's first death penalty case since 1943, United States v. Marvin Gabrion. During the summer of 2003, Professor Shafer served as co-counsel for the citizens group attempting to stop the Ice Mountain groundwater diversion in Mecosta County. This case, Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v Nestle Corp, involved a 21 day trial, after which the trial court issued a permanent injunction against the groundwater diversion. Professor Shafer serves as a contract Administrative Law Judge for the Michigan Dep't of Environmental Quality and has authored Proposals for Decision in 4 contested case hearings. Professor Shafer has written and filed two amicus curiae briefs in cases pending before the Michigan Supreme Court, the first in 1997 in K & K Construction, Inc v DNR, a regulatory takings case, and the second in 2005 in Glass v Goeckel, a beach access case on Lake Huron.



Chris A Shafer, Michigan Supreme Court Reverses Its Recent Decision on Anglers of the AuSable Case, 29 Planning & Zoning News 5 (2011).

Chris A. Shafer, Emerging Legal Issues in the Great Lakes, 34 Can.-U.S. L.J. 303 (2010).

Chris A. Shafer, Navigating the Shoals of Wetlands Protection and the Clean Water Act: The U.S. Supreme Court's Decision in Rapanos and Carabell, 24 Planning & Zoning News 5 (2006).

Chris A. Shafer, The Michigan Supreme Court Declares That the Public Has a Right to Walk Along Great Lakes Beaches, 23 Planning & Zoning News 6 (2005).

Chris A. Shafer, Great Lakes Diversions Revisited: Legal Constraints and Opportunities for State Regulation, 17 Thomas M. Cooley L. Rev. 461 (2000).

Chris A. Shafer, Public Rights in Michigan's Streams: Toward a Modern Definition of Navigability, 45 Wayne L. Rev. 9 (1999).

Chris A. Shafer and Karl Benghauser, Administrative Law--The Need for Agency Discretion: The Agency's View, 74 Mich. B.J. 284 (1995).

Other Writings

Chris A. Shafer, Winter Navigation--The End of Controversy, 64 Mich. Nat. Resources Magazine 6 (January-February 1994).

Chris A. Shafer, The St. Clair Flats, 51 Mich. Nat. Resources Magazine 10 (November-December 1982).


Professor Shafer has made numerous presentations on Michigan water law, and on shorelands management and public trust administration in the Great Lakes, including presentations at four national Coastal Zone Management Conferences.


Real-World Experience

Specialties: Water Law

Courses: Constitutional Law, Water Law

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