I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, grew up in Arcadia, California, and went away for high school, to the Phillips Exeter Academy. Then it was back west, to Stanford University, then back east, to Harvard, where I studied law and public policy.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1982, I joined the Washington office of an international law firm, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. In 1986, the firm posted me to Hong Kong, where I lived and worked for three exciting years, mainly on international litigations. In 1990, I joined the Securities & Exchange Commission, working for several years in the chairman’s office, writing speeches and congressional testimony, advising on enforcement cases.
In 1995, I was hired by Fidelity Investments to be their first internal lawyer based in Hong Kong; my work and travels took me throughout Asia, especially to Japan and Taiwan. I returned to Washington in 1999, joining Emerging Markets Partnership as an internal lawyer, focused on Asia, eventually rising to be the general counsel of EMP Global, as the firm is now known.
In 2008, my family moved to Exeter, New Hampshire, where we lived for six school years while my wife taught mathematics, I coached the Exeter mock trial team, and my children attended and graduated from the Phillips Exeter Academy. In 2014 we moved to southern California.
My first book, on John Jay, was published in 2005; my second book, on Seward, in 2012. I am now working on a third book: a biography of Edwin McMasters Stanton, the secretary of war, which will probably appear in 2017. I am also attached to Chapman University, as a presidential fellow on leave, and still somewhat attached to Phillips Exeter, as a long-distance mock trial coach.
My wife, Dr. Masami Miyauchi Stahr, is a mathematics teacher at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School; my son Clancey Stahr is a partner at ZenShin Capital in Menlo Park; and my daughter Lydia Stahr is a sophomore at Scripps College, in Claremont, California.