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Peter Bell Bio

Academic and Professional Work

Peter A. Bell has served as professor of Law at Syracuse University since 1978, with one-year leaves as Fulbright professor of Law at Wuhan University in China, in 1987-88, and as distinguished visiting professor of Law at Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, in Salatiga, Indonesia, in 1995-1996. A graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review and head of two student organizations. Prof. Bell clerked for a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia, lawyered for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C. and served as the housing specialist for a statewide legal services backup center in Rochester, N.Y., before entering teaching full-time.

Writing and Teaching

Prof. Bell co-authored the book Accidental Justice: The Dilemmas of Tort Law, for Yale University Press with Jeffrey O’Connell, the 'father' of American no-fault laws, in 1997.  He has written numerous articles and has taught and created numerous courses in the Torts and Health Law fields during his academic career.  Beyond teaching in his Torts and Health specialties, Prof. Bell has taught courses in Public Health Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Lawyering, Legal Writing, Family Law, Federal Litigation, and Evidence.  For many years, he chaired Syracuse Law School’s Curriculum Committee.

Other Work

Outside the law school, Prof. Bell currently sits on the Ethics Committee of State University of New York’s Upstate Hospital in Syracuse.  He was for several years a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Committee on Torts and Compensation Systems, including one year as its chair. 

Following more than a decade of work on legal education with fellow law professors in the Center for Law and Human Values, Prof. Bell was selected in 1995 to be a group co-leader for the AALS’ once-a-decade national conference on New Ideas in Law School Teaching. Early in his career, Prof. Bell served on the Board of the Central NY Civil Liberties Union, including as its Chair.  From 1996 to 2003, he also moonlighted as the assistant varsity coach for a high school basketball team in Syracuse.


Prof. Bell will be visiting the University of Limerick’s School of Law during a one-year research leave from Syracuse University with his wife of 40 years, Deborah Rogers.  Their two children work in the healthcare field: older daughter Lauren, an M.P.H. and nurse, directs healthcare operations for Relief International, in internally displaced persons’ camps in Rakhine State, Myanmar; younger daughter Natalie, a B.A. and B.S.N. recipient, works with youth and adults with autism in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Psychiatric Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.