After graduation from law school, where he was an editor of the Stanford Law Review, Professor Bell served as a law clerk to US District Court Judge Joseph S. Lord, III, in Philadelphia. He then practiced law for a leading Washington, DC law firm, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering for two and one-half years. Following a year of international exploration, Bell worked briefly in DC with the transition team creating the Legal Services Corporation and then moved to Rochester, NY, where he worked as a lawyer serving low-income communities throughout New York State as an attorney with the Greater Upstate Law Project, a statewide legal services backup center. While there, he served on the adjunct faculties of Cornell and Buffalo law schools.
Bell writes extensively on tort theory, tort law, tort and science, tort recovery for emotional distress, and the significance of tort lawsuits in the area of health care. He teaches Torts, Legislation & Policy (Health Law), and International Trade Law currently, and has co-founded and taught Syracuse’s Law Firm course. He has also taught Family Law, Criminal Law, Evidence, Toxic Torts and seminars in Law and Lawyering and Federal Litigation.
Bell is past-president of the board of directors of the Central New York chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He has served the Association of American Law Schools as a group leader for its national conference on law teaching and, currently, as a member of the Executive Board of its Section on Torts. During the 1987-88 academic year, Professor Bell was a Fulbright Professor of Law at Wuhan University, People’s Republic of China. During the 1995-96 academic year, he served as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana in Salatiga, Central Java, Indonesia. His most recent book is Accidental Justice: The Dilemmas of Tort Law (Yale University Press, 1997).