New Interim Chief Executive Officer

  • July 08, 2021

The Canadian Bar Association is pleased to announce that Paul D. Paton, Q.C., professor and former Dean of Law at the University of Alberta, has become Interim CEO effective July 1, 2021.

“Paul is a highly respected lawyer and thought leader who is well known around the world for his work in ethics, regulation and innovation in the legal profession. A natural leader and communicator, Paul also brings a wealth of experience in relationship building to our association,” said CBA President Brad Regehr in announcing his appointment.

A long-time CBA member with a rich history of engagement with the national office, multiple provincial branches and with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Dr. Paton served two terms as Chair of the National Ethics and Responsibility Committee, where he oversaw a shift in Committee focus to the production of numerous guides and toolkits offering practical guidance to lawyers about their ethical obligations. He also served on the CBA Taskforce on Conflicts of Interest and as a member of the Ontario Bar Association Council. While Dean at UAlberta Law between 2014-2019, he dedicated considerable effort in support of CBA Alberta activities both at the University and for the profession across the province, delivering a keynote address at the CBA West conference in 2017.

Dr. Paton’s service to the bar internationally has included work as Reporter to the American Bar Association’s Ethics 20/20 Commission, as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Regulation, and as a speaker/panelist at multiple ABA, state bar, and International Bar Association conferences.

Dr. Paton received the OBA Distinguished Service Award in 2014 and the Robert V.A. Jones Award from the CCCA, the organization’s highest individual honour, in 2019. He was recognized as a Leader in Diversity by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (Western Canada) in 2017.

He 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 bar in Ontario and Alberta, he practiced commercial litigation as an associate and partner with one of Canada’s leading firms, was in-house counsel to an international professional services firm, and served as Justice and Social Policy Advisor to the Premier of Ontario. He has been a professor and university administrator in both Canada and the United States. He is a four-time finalist in the Canadian Lawyer Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada, most recently in the “Changemaker” category in 2021. He was named Queen’s Counsel in Alberta in 2020.