Paul Paton
Paul D. Paton, JSD, has been named dean of Fowler School of Law.

Paul D. Paton Named New Dean of Fowler School of Law

International legal expert Paul D. Paton, JSD, has been named dean of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law.

Paton, who has been a professor and university administrator in the United States and Canada and has helped lead legal organizations in both countries, will begin his appointment on June 30, 2023.

“It’s a terrific opportunity and wonderful to be there,” Paton told the Orange County Business Journal.

Paton is a professor of law and ethics at the University of Alberta, an R1 university in Edmonton. He was dean of law from 2014 to 2019.

In an announcement to the Chapman community, Provost Norma Bouchard praised Paton for his inclusive leadership style and for his ethical and principled leadership.

“He champions excellence for himself and others and does so with collegial good humor and humility,” Bouchard said.

Paton is a first-generation student and lawyer. His maternal grandparents immigrated to Canada from Ukraine.

“Paul and his siblings were instilled with the importance of maximizing the benefit of any educational opportunity that they could earn by working hard, respecting others, and giving back,” Bouchard said.

Paton directed an undergraduate arts and sciences program at the University of Toronto and became a professor at Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2004, later directing its international law program in England. In 2008, he was recruited by the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento to direct its Ethics Across the Professions Initiative, a 10-year, $250,000 grant supporting multidisciplinary research and programming. He became a professor and later served as University of the Pacific’s first vice provost, serving all three of its campuses in northern California.

He received his bachelor’s degree and first law degree from the University of Toronto; a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge, where he studied under Christopher Greenwood, later judge of the International Court of Justice; and a JSM and JSD from Stanford Law School, where he was supervised by legal ethics and leadership education pioneer Deborah Rhode.

Paton clerked for the chief justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and spent a decade in practice as a litigation partner in a major firm, as a senior government policy advisor in Ontario, and as in-house counsel at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

His academic work focuses on legal ethics, professional responsibility, comparative regulation of the legal profession, corporate governance and ethics in corporate contexts. He has taught courses in U.S. and Canadian law schools and in international programs in those subjects, international law and more. 

He has written peer-reviewed journal articles for Canadian law journals and published extensively about legal ethics and legal profession matters in leading U.S. law reviews, including the Fordham Law Review, the ABA Journal and the Stanford Journal of Law, Business and Finance.

He has written and edited books and symposia collections and served as a fellow for institutes and seminars. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Connecticut Law School and the American Bar Foundation, and addressed annual meetings of state bar organizations, the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Schools and the International Bar Association.

He was interim CEO of the Canadian Bar Association in 2021 and served on committees, working groups and boards for the American and Canadian bar associations, Arizona Supreme Court, Law School Admission Council Board of Trustees and Canada-U.S. Fulbright Awards.

He is a four-time finalist in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers. He was named Queen’s Counsel in Alberta in 2020, an honor given to legal experts in the United Kingdom and U.K. Commonwealth nations. He was nominated by his students and received a Leaders in Diversity Award from the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Interim Dean Marisa Cianciarulo began serving as interim dean Dec. 1, 2021 and will continue to lead the law school until Paton’s arrival June 30.

Joy Juedes

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