Dr. Paul D. Paton was appointed Dean of Law and Wilbur Fee Bowker Professor of Law at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in July 2014. An expert on legal ethics, professional responsibility, the regulation of lawyers, and corporate governance, he has written and spoken extensively on these issues and in particular on the changing role of lawyers and accountants in corporate contexts post-Enron, and on the role of corporate counsel. Recognized for his work in the United States, Canada and England, he was appointed as Reporter to the American Bar Association’s Ethics 20/20 Commission to support its work on Alternative Business Structures between 2010-12. He served two terms as Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee between 2009-2011, following two years as Vice Chair. Between 2014-2016 he was a Member of the ABA Business Law Section Professional Responsibility Committee.
Paul’s prior academic appointments include service as inaugural Vice Provost at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, Stockton and San Francisco, California; Professor of Law and Director of the Ethics Across the Professions Initiative at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento (2008-2014); Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University (2004-2008); Fellow of Stanford’s Keck Center on Legal Ethics and the Legal Profession (2002-04); and Associate and Acting Director of the Canadian Studies Program at the University of Toronto. His teaching has included Professional Responsibility/Legal Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Associations in both the United States and in Canada; Securities Regulation; Torts; and Public International Law. He is a Fellow of the Salzburg Seminar (2002 – Globalization and the Legal Profession) and a Fellow of the 2013 Aspen Institute Justice and Society Seminar. He has been a member of the Canada-US Fulbright Academic Selection Committee (Social Sciences) since 2014-15.
He has been an invited or keynote speaker for many of the leading academic legal ethics conferences in the US and in Canada, and for state bars in Wisconsin, North Dakota, North Carolina; the US National Organization of Bar Counsel; the Law Society of England and Wales; provincial bars in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada; and at plenary sessions for the American Association of Law Schools, the US National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism, the ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility, the US Association of Corporate Counsel (Silicon Valley chapter) , the ABA Section of International Law, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, and both the National Judicial Institute (Canada) and the US National Judicial Institute.
Dr. Paton holds a B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto, an M.Phil in International Relations from Cambridge, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Law (JSM, JSD) from Stanford. Called to the Ontario Bar as Barrister and Solicitor in 1994, he was judicial law clerk to the Chief Justice and Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and practiced as a commercial litigation associate and partner for a major Canadian firm, as in-house counsel to PricewaterhouseCoopers (1998-2004), and as Justice and Social Policy Advisor to the Premier of Ontario. Since 2004 he has been a retained expert or external legal counsel on ethics, corporate governance and post-Sarbanes-Oxley matters, tax policy issues and professional responsibility concerns. His published work includes leading articles or commissioned expert reports on ethical challenges for corporate counsel, on "Lawyers, Ethics and Enron," on the changing role of auditors, on privilege and confidentiality, and on multidisciplinary practice, alternative business structures and lawyer regulation in international context. He was a finalist in the Canadian Lawyer Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada in 2015 and received a Distinguished Service Award for contributions to the legal profession from the Ontario Bar Association in 2014.
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