Dr. Sida Liu analyses how globalization affects the Chinese legal services market

Dr. Sida Liu received an SSHRC Insight Grant to study the dynamics of globalization and social interactions among the legal professions in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. His work will uncover how the legal professions in Taiwan and Hong Kong respond and adapt to the rise of China’s business corporations and law firms, and develop an ecological framework for understanding how adjacent social spaces interact and transform in relation to one other. Using the legal professions in the Greater China Region as an empirical case, the project investigates how globalization shapes emerging economies.

At the intersection between the sociology of law and globalization studies, this project will be the first large-scale social science study on the legal professions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The primary research objectives are: (1) to understand how the adjacent social spaces of corporate legal markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China relate to one another; (2) to investigate how boundaries between social actors are constructed in workplace interactions (i.e. between lawyers and business corporations); and (3) to use the case of the corporate legal market to uncover the spatial and relational consequences of globalization in East Asia and beyond. This project builds on Dr. Liu’s previous research analyzing the emergence and transformation of the Chinese legal services market, where he conducted hundreds of interviews with lawyers and state officials in China.

Dr. Liu is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Law at the University of Toronto and a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation. He received his L.L.B. degree from Peking University Law School and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. He joined the University of Toronto faculty in 2016, after teaching sociology and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include the sociology of law, organizations and professions, globalization, and social theory. He has conducted multiple empirical projects on these topics, including empirical research on China’s legal reform and legal profession, and published on socio-legal theory and general social theory. His new project will build on his extensive research experience in China on the topic of globalization and the legal profession.

Professor Liu is the author of three books in Chinese and English, most recently, Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work. He has also published many articles in leading law and social science journals, such as the American Journal of Sociology.