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Shearman & Sterling Law Firm, New York City and Hong Kong

As a practicing international corporate attorney on Wall Street and in Hong Kong, I litigated and negotiated merger and acquisition and other deals and wrote contracts for U.S., German, Swedish, Japanese and Chinese clients. I enjoyed explaining to clients how different legal arguments could be used in order to assert their interests. I especially enjoyed deploying these arguments myself in give-and-take with other lawyers. 


Harvard Law School, J.D. 1980

Columbia University, B.A. 1977

Professor of International Law, Fletcher School at Tufts University

At Fletcher, I teach and do research in the areas of trade law, international business transactions, immigration, and law and economics.  I joined the faculty at the Fletcher School in the Fall of 1989 after nine years of private practice. My academic passion is figuring out the ways that legal systems and structures can help improve our world. My former students are living and working all over the world as lawyers, bankers, trade and finance ministers, NGO leaders, and entrepreneurs.


​​​Joel P. Trachtman is Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Contact him with book inquiries at:


  • I believe that skills in reasoned argument are essential to success as a lawyer, business person, or government leader

  • Most law schools (or business and public policy programs) do not teach these skills

  • The tools of argument are not difficult to learn

  • No other book zeroes-in on the core skills of argumentation - explaining both the valuable legal context and the applicability to business dealings and "life itself!"


The Tools of Argument

How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win

The Tools of Argument

How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win