Joel Richard Paul ‘77
Professor and Associate Dean, University of California Hastings College of the Law
Masters of Law and Diplomacy, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
J.D.Harvard Law School
General Course, London School of Economics and Political Science
BA, Amherst College
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO AMHERST?
I never seriously considered any place else. I was drawn to idea of a small intellectual community. I was impressed by the faculty’s excellence and their deep commitment to teaching. And I fell in love with the physical setting of the college. I thought it was the perfect place to learn how to think critically.
FAVORITE CLASS AT AMHERST:
I loved many classes, but I suppose that Gordy Levin’s classes on diplomatic history and Joel Upton’s class on Dutch and Flemish painting had the most profound impact on my life. I lived and taught in the Netherlands so I could be closer to the art that Joel introduced me to, and I wrote UNLIKELY ALLIES as part of a trilogy on early American diplomatic history. Earl Latham’s class on Constitutional Law also shaped my approach to teaching constitutional law, and Bob Gross’ class on the American Revolution inspired this book.
I owe an enormous debt to Bill Taubman, my thesis adviser, who read countless drafts of my 200-page senior thesis and really tutored me on how to organize and write a major research project. He also taught me how to integrate my majors in history, economics, and political science. Much of my teaching career since then has drawn on these three disciplines.
Before writing UNLIKELY ALLIES, my research as a law professor was focused on international economic law, trade policy, and foreign relations law. I wrote about subjects like presidential powers during the Cold War, the impact of trade policy on the environment, and how globalization has sparked the culture wars.
Now I’m working on a new book on U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall’s contribution to diplomacy and international law. It’s tentatively titled, “Extravagant Pretense: How John Marshall Invented U.S. Diplomacy,” and it’s due out in 2013.
I teach constitutional law, international law, international trade law and policy, and international business transaction. I also am the dean for international and graduate programs in charge of running the law school’s 16 foreign exchange programs, master’s degree program, foreign scholar program, and summer school. And I’m involved in affordable housing issues locally. In addition, I am working on my next book and a screenplay.
Gordon Wood’s The Creation of the American Republic
TIPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
I spent nearly seven years thinking about UNLIKELY ALLIES, and I actually wrote the book in a about two weeks over that seven-year period. Most of the time you’re working on a book, you are just staring at a blank computer screen or tossing out what you just wrote. That’s ok. You’re writing even if you spend a day tearing everything apart that you wrote the day before. Writing is a process of trial and error. It moves in fits and starts. Just don’t lose patience with yourself. The book is already inside you. You just need to give it space to emerge.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PATH TO BECOMING AN AUTHOR:
I’ve written numerous law journal articles and books on law and economics, but nothing for the general public. This book started as a challenge from my sister. She dared me to write a book she might actually want to read. I hope I succeeded.
Joel R. Paul is a professor of law and Associate Dean of International and Graduate Programs at the University of California Hastings where he teaches public international law, international trade law, constitutional law, international business transactions, and foreign relations law. Previously, Professor Paul taught at Yale, the University of Connecticut, the University of Leiden, and American University. He studied at Amherst College ‘77, Harvard Law School, the London School of Economics, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He writes in the fields of international law, international economic regulation, and foreign relations. He is currently writing a book on the diplomacy of Chief Justice John Marshall and a screenplay of UNLIKELY ALLIES.