Page 10 - Briefcase V35 Number 1
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YEARS OF DEDICATION





            JORDAN PAUST

              In more than four decades of teaching at the University of   2005-2009 and 2010-2014. His articles are widely downloaded from
            Houston Law Center, Professor Jordan J. Paust earned a reputation   SSRN, making him the number one downloaded author of the Law
            for not mincing his words. Now that he is retiring, Paust joked that   Center faculty.
            maybe it’s time to bite his tongue, or perhaps not.      Paust said writing on international law is one of two aspects he
              “A law professor has a unique role as the expert in an area. That   will miss most about being a professor.
            expertise comes with responsibility. Sometimes you speak out and   “I don’t know that I’ll write as much anymore,” he said. “I will
            oppose things that you claim are violations of international law. I’ve   probably miss that. I will miss the students, especially the new crop
            been fortunate to do that, and a lot of people know that I’m the kind  of students that come in every fall. That’s really something that keeps
            of guy that will speak out if I see something that’s a violation,” Paust   you going. Every fall you have a new generation. For an old professor
            said with a chuckle.                                   especially, it’s exciting to see the new faces and the new energy and the
                                                                   new generation that’s coming up. Things don’t get stale.”
                                                                     Paust was instrumental in establishing the Houston Journal of
                                                                   International Law in 1978. The triannual student-run publication
                                                                   ranks in the top 28 percent of all international law journals and of
                                                                   all law journals worldwide, according to the Washington and Lee
                                                                   University School of Law’s rankings.
                                                                     “We started that with a group of maybe three students that came
                                                                   to me and wanted to start a journal,” Paust said. “I said, ‘All right,
                                                                   we’ll try.’ Right now, the Houston Journal of International Law
                                                                   has a really significant reputation in this country. It’s a very viable
                                                                   international law journal, a very top-notch journal.”
                                                                     Paust said he is leaving a Law Center that has evolved into more
                                                                   than just a local law school, with instructors and students who have
                                                                   excellent credentials.
                                                                     “The Law Center has really reached out in terms of hiring with
                                                                   a national focus,” he said. “Not that it hadn’t before, but we became
                                                                   much more of a national law school. I’ve seen changes in the
                                                                   standards. We’re very fortunate to have a pool of student applicants
                                                                   who are very top-notch in terms of their GPAs and LSATs. In terms
              “Maybe I need to be quiet. I have not been quiet over the years.”  of the professors that we can hire, we have a significant, nationally-
              A prolific writer, Paust has not been hesitant to speak out when he  competitive extraordinary faculty.”
            disagrees with U.S. international policy. For example, he relentlessly   While Paust may not be as active as a scholar in retirement, his
            questioned the conduct of high level government officials in the   commitment to the rule of law and holding government leaders
            George W. Bush administration during the “war on terror” and   accountable remains unwavering. He acknowledged that progress
            argued some should be prosecuted for war crimes for violating   around the world can often be categorized by the adage of two steps
            international rules of law.                            forward, one step back; he looks forward to continued development
              Paust has been a member of the Law Center faculty since 1975   in the areas of human rights and human dignity.
            and held the Mike and Teresa Baker Law Center Professorship of   “The lawyer is the one who can uphold law,” Paust said. “Without
            International Law. He received an A.B. and J.D. from UCLA, an LL.M.  law, we’re all in trouble. Our country was based on revolutionary
            from the University of Virginia and is a J.S.D. Candidate at Yale   ideas, and we should hold our leaders to the fire. Law was important
            University (in residence, Ford Foundation Fellowship, 1973-75).   for the effectuation of our typical American values of human
              He served as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Salzburg,   dignity, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I still believe those
            Austria and was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Army Judge   values are critical for the future as well.”
            Advocate General’s School, International Law Division, during the   A California native, Paust and his wife, Paula, will be heading west
            Vietnam War. He has held numerous leadership positions in premier  to Reno, Nevada, with more time to explore hobbies.
            organizations, including the American Society of International Law   “We like the mountains. We’ll be hiking and fishing,” Paust said.
            and the American Branch of the International Law Association,   “I’m looking forward to relaxing a little bit more. I’m also looking
            where he served as chair and co-chair on several councils.  forward to playing with writing short essays outside the area of law
              Paust has published more than 200 articles, book chapters, papers  to see if I can do that. Lawyers are familiar with words, but writing
            and essays in top law journals around the globe and across the U.S.   in the law is different than the writings of Emily Dickinson, for
            Two of his articles have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, and   example. I don’t know if I can transfer my talents to that area, but it
            he ranked among the top 1 percent in Leiter’s studies for 2000-2007,  would be interesting.”



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