Associate Professor of Law
- J.D. American University Washington College of Law
- B.A. Beloit College
Professor Paul Figueroa brings extensive private and public sector practice experience to the classroom. Most recently he served as a foreign service officer and the inhouse-counsel for the U.S. Agency for the International Development in Guatemala, where he managed a diverse portfolio of legal issues related to their $150 million foreign assistance budget. Prior to that appointment, Professor Figueroa worked as an attorney adviser to various regional and technical bureaus at the USAID/Washington office. Professor Figueroa served for five years as the chair to the Fund Council Group on Intellectual Property for the Consultative Group of International Research Centers to ensure responsible management of intellectual property assets that resulted from public funding. During his ten years of government service, Professor Figueroa received several prestigious agency-wide awards related to strategic innovation in legal practice and institutional climate. In the private sector, Professor Figueroa served as manager for the Customs and Trade Compliance Group at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Chicago and as a senior associate in the Washington, DC office of New York City-based Grunfeld Desiderio, where he represented foreign corporations involved in trade disputes and won over 90% of appeals before the U.S. Court of International Trade.
An Economics and International Studies graduate of Beloit College, Professor Figueroa graduated from American University Washington College of Law (consistently ranked in the top 10 law schools nationally in international law). While in law school, he clerked for the Honorable Jennifer A. Hillman of the U.S. International Trade Commission and was a member of the American University Law Review. Professor Figueroa taught international trade law as an adjunct professor for several years in Washington, DC and is fluent in three languages.
When engaging in business, the rights, powers, duties, and obligations of the business itself, and of the owners, directors, officers, managers, and other agents of the business, depend on the form of the business association. Students in this course will study the law governing the attributes of corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, and how these business associations are organized, operated, merged, dissolved, and acquired. Further, as business associations exist only as intangible legal creations, they must act through their agents. As such, this course also introduces students to agency law and the related legal duties of individuals who assume responsibility for the management of business associations. As part of this course, students will be faced with problems involving claims against and the defense of business associations and their agents, and tasked with drafting incorporation documents based on factual situations.
In an industrial society characterized by a "free" enterprise system and notions of individual freedom, "contract" is one of the primary means by which private individuals order their affairs. The contracts course inquires into why promises are enforced as contracts, which promises are enforced, and how they are enforced. The course places emphasis on close and critical analyses of court decisions.
Copyright Law will cover all aspects of U.S. Copyright law. Topics will include copyrightable subject matter, rights of copyright holders, limitations on copyright protection, and infringement. Discussion will include the developments in the law which are related to electronic forms of works.
International Trade Law
The course examines justifications for liberalizing international trade, as well as arguments for limiting such liberalization. We next discuss the institutional dimension of the international trade regime (WTO), as well as the way in which international trade rules are negotiated and implemented in the United States, including trade remedies. We will also study and apply core trade legal principles, such as most-favored nation and national treatment in goods and services trade, as well as the non-economic exceptions to international trade obligations. Based on this knowledge of substantive international trade law, we discuss the WTO dispute settlement system, including its relationship to regional free trade institutions such as the EU and USMCA, and the relationship between WTO law and other sensitive policy issues (for example, environment, labor and human rights law).
Parties generally do not sue (or seek arbitration) just to have the court declare they were right. They seek some form of relief. Remedies studies the different forms that relief may take. In other words, Remedies is concerned with the “bottom line” of a lawsuit. Remedies also addresses the litigation strategy that complainants may, or should, pursue in attaining that relief.
Any relief necessarily must relate to the interest protected by the underlying claim on which a party sues. Those claims are based in contract, tort, unjust enrichment, or breach of fiduciary duty. The study of Remedies therefore, will show the relationship between the different claims and possible relief. Thus, studying Remedies allows you to connect the substantive theories you have studied (e.g. contracts and torts and those theories based on contracts and torts) with different forms of relief. Unlike your substantive courses, which concentrated on the substantive theories, Remedies focuses on the possible relief with substantive theories as the backdrop. Remedies is a good course to view the “forest”, that is, all the trees that go to make up civil litigation.
The different types of relief covered by the course include: Damages, Restitution, and Equitable Remedies of Injunction, Specific Performance, Constructive Trust, Accounting, and Equitable Lien. While reviewing these remedies, we will concentrate on which is the preferable remedy, considering the harm that the plaintiff has suffered.
USAID Superior Group Award for Diversity, 2018 (“for advancing Agency-wide diversity and inclusion through creation of a task force to analyze and change hiring practices”)
USAID Group On-the-Spot Award, 2016 ("for the exceptional and sustained leadership, insight, perseverance, teamwork and technical expertise in achieving the signature of the first Government to Government Agreement in Guatemala”)
USAID Superior Honor Award, 2014 (“for outstanding creativity and teamwork in establishing the Development Innovation Accelerator, a new tool for the Agency to co-create and co-invest in development with universities, corporations, foundations and non-governmental organizations”)
USAID Meritorious Honor Award, 2013 (“in recognition of his invaluable legal advice and exemplary service relating to the execution of USAID’s Multilateral Development Bank environmental responsibilities”)
USAID Group Certificate of Appreciation, 2013 (“for outstanding leadership to the agency in designing and implementing new ways of promoting innovation and doing development differently”)
Finalist, Funniest Fed Competition, 2012 (recognized for making fun of government employees)
If You Draw It, Students Learn It: An Approach to Teaching Contracts and Other Doctrinal Courses, 71 Journal of Legal Education 468 (2022).
Available at: UNM-DR
When Imitation Is Not Flattery: How to Stop Cultural Exploitation in Guatemala through a Sui Generis Regime, 46(4) BYU L. REV. 979 (2021).
Available at BYU Law Review.