Fulbright Scholar honour awarded to Christopher Nicholls

August 24, 2016

Christopher Nicholls

Western Law professor Christopher Nicholls has been selected as a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar and will be a visiting professor at the Harvard Law School for the upcoming fall term.

The Canada-US Fulbright Scholar Awards enable outstanding Canadian scholars to lecture and/or conduct research in the United States.

“Fulbright scholars are the best and brightest minds in North America and we are extremely proud that Chris has been awarded this prestigious opportunity,” says Dean Iain Scott.

Widely regarded as the world’s premiere academic exchange program, the Fulbright awards offer a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of scholarly issues, including important contemporary issues that are relevant to Canada, to the United States, and to the relationship between the two countries.

While at Harvard, Nicholls will explore a century-long corporate governance question: how should law best ensure that corporations serve society? His research topic is entitled “Borders, boundaries and bundles in comparative corporate governance: Canadian and U.S. approaches to defining and regulating corporate purpose.”

“Three modern phenomena have re-invigorated this debate,” explains Nicholls.  “The rising influence of activist investors, pressuring managers of publicly-traded corporations to focus on maximizing shareholder wealth; the concurrent increasing importance of proponents of corporate social responsibility urging large corporations to reject the single-minded pursuit of profit (or shareholder wealth maximization) in favour of advancing broader social goals; and the impact of modern financial innovation on the very nature of financial claims and even, as the recent creation of the DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) and the infamous DAO hack has revealed, on the function and structure of business organizations themselves.”

While at Harvard, Professor Nicholls will also co-teach a course in Comparative Corporate Law, Finance and Governance with Professor Reinier Kraakman, the Ezra Ripley Thayer Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Nicholls holds the W. Geoff Beattie Chair in Corporate Law and is Director of Business Law at Western Law. He is Head of Research & Policy for the Capital Markets Institute at the Rotman School of Management; a Research Fellow with the Filene Research Institute in Madison Wisconsin; a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Canadian Business Law Journal; and a public director and Vice Chair of the Board of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada.

He is the author of numerous articles in the business law field as well as six books.  His most recent, Back from the Brink: Lessons from the Canadian Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Crisis, co-authored with Paul Halpern, Caroline Cakebread and Poonam Puri, was published by the University of Toronto Press in June, 2016.