Paul D. Paton

Paul Paton

Professor of Law
Director, Ethics Across the Professions Initiative
B.A., LL.B., University of Toronto
M.Phil, International Relations, University of Cambridge
JSM, JSD, Stanford University


Phone: 916.739.7284
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Full Bio

Professor Paul Paton had a distinguished career in private practice, corporate counsel and public service settings before becoming a full-time professor in 2004. He joined the faculty at McGeorge in 2008 as Associate Professor and was promoted to full professor in 2010. He teaches courses in professional responsibility, corporate governance, business associations, legal ethics and the legal profession, and ethics for government and public lawyers, and was twice named a Fellow of the U.S. National Institute on Teaching Ethics and Professionalism. Professor Paton’s research focuses on ethics in corporate contexts, legal ethics and lawyer regulation in comparative perspective, and on corporate governance matters. He has been recognized nationally in both the United States and Canada for his contributions to debates on the future of the legal profession and is a frequent media commentator on the role of lawyers in corporate scandal. His publications include articles in the Fordham Law Review (Symposium Edition on Ethics), the ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer (Canons of Ethics Celebration Edition), the Canadian Bar Review (Special Edition on Ethics), the Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance, and other law reviews and journals. He has also co-authored a casebook on the law of business associations, and convened six different symposia on business law, legal ethics and judicial ethics matters.

Professor Paton received his B.A. from the University of Toronto, graduating as Moss Scholar (top all-round graduate, Faculty of Arts & Science) in 1988. He received a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, supervised by Sir Christopher Greenwood (now of the International Court of Justice) before returning to the University of Toronto for law school, where he was an Associate Editor on the Faculty of Law Review. He clerked for Chief Justice Charles Dubin of the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992-93, then spent over a decade in practice, first as associate and partner in the commercial litigation group of Davies, Ward & Beck in Toronto, then as Justice and Social Policy Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, and for six years as in-house counsel to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he headed the firm’s multidisciplinary practice initiative. He earned a Master’s in law from Stanford Law School in 2002 and a Doctorate in 2008, where he was a Fellow in the Keck Center on Legal Ethics and the Legal Profession and received the George S. Shultz Grant from the Stanford Institute for International Studies in 2002 and 2003. He was appointed for five terms to the Canadian Bar Association's National Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee, serving as its Chair between 2009-2011.  He served as Reporter to the American Bar Association's Ethics 20/20 Commission between 2010-2012, with primary responsibility for its work on Alternative Legal Practice Structures.

Professor Paton has had various administrative appointments throughout his university career. He was Associate and Acting Director of Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto, Chair of Queen’s University’s Discrimination and Harassment Appeals Board and Director of the Queen’s Law International Summer Programme. In 2012-13 he served as University of the Pacific’s inaugural Vice Provost, with leadership responsibilities across the academic portfolio at all three campuses, including supervision of market research for new graduate programs, a comprehensive review of the University’s Center for Continuing and Professional Education, chairing the University’s Information Technology Strategy Committee, preparing a white paper on new directions for the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and a review of the University’s Office of International Programs and Services.

Courses: Professional Responsibility, Corporate Governance, Business Associations

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