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Current Work

I was the Inaugural Director of the Law Futures Centre (https://www.griffith.edu.au/criminology-law/law-futures-centre), established at the end of 2015, to focus on law, risk, and innovation, law and nature, law and global challenges, and lawyering and legal education. These are cross-cut by themes on re-imagining law's futures through the humanities, and governance and integrity.

My own research focuses on the legal profession, especially the role of large law firms in global transactions, and the regulation of legal services. In the last four years I have been working with the Legal Services Board, an oversight regulator in the UK, to help shape the research agenda for the new re-regulated legal services market.

I also research in the area of international commercial arbitration and I'm working with a group in the UK. I have begun a new area of research on the impact of technology in law and practice. This currently focuses on the development of blockchain technologies and The DAO (distributed autonomous organisations) where law is only just beginning to venture.


Expertise Keywords

  • Blockchain
  • Dispute resolution
  • ICO
  • Medicinal Cannabis
  • Professions
  • The DAO
  • legal profession
  • regulation
  • technology

Subject Area Codes

  • Globalisation and Culture
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Ethics
  • Legal Practice, Lawyering and the Legal Profession

Country Affiliations

  • Hong Kong
  • United Kingdom

Research Publications and Outputs

Recent Publications

Publications: 14 (Other: 14)

Funded Griffith Research

Engagement and Impact


  • Keynote Address
    The Future of Legal Professions,   Society of Legal Scholars, London, UK,   2018,  
  • Plenary
    Future of Law Firms and Lawyers in a Time of Bio-Engineering and Blockchain Disintermediation,   Australian Legal Practice Management Association,   2018,  
  • Panelist
    Reimagining Our Future,   BLOCKconscious Summit,   2018,  
  • Plenary
    Future of Law Firms and Lawyers in a Time of Bio-Engineering and Blockchain Disintermediation,   Australasian Legal Practice Management Association,   2018,  
  • Conference Paper
    Trust, Anarcho-Capitalism, and ICOs,   International Political Science Association 25th World Congress,   2018,  
  • Keynote Address
    The Legal Profession/Suppliers Over the Next 125 Years,   Thynne+Macartney,   2018,  
  • Keynote Address
    Introducing Blockchain and the Impact on Society and Governance,   Digital Democracy Forum, RMIT, Melbourne,   2018,  
  • Keynote Address
    Law Firms of the Future: More ‘Bladerunner’ than ‘Suits’,   11th Managing Partners Forum, Byron Bay,   2018,  
  • Keynote Address
    A History of the Future: The Implications of Developing Technology on the Legal Profession,   University of Miami Law Review Symposium Hack to the Future: How Technology is Disrupting the Legal Profession, Miami,   2018,  
  • Plenary
    Law, Technology and the Future of Work,   WIPO Conference, Skolkovo Foundation, Moscow,   2018,  
  • Keynote Address
    Law’s Missing Institution,   Conference on the Future of the Legal Profession, St Gallen University, Switzerland,   2018,  
  • Masterclass
    ICO Masterclass,   Block to the Future Conference, APF and LFC, Fishburners, Brisbane,   2017,  
  • Keynote Address
    Reconstituting Global Professions and Professionalism,   Conference on the Global Professional Firm and Employed Professionals, University of New South Wales, Sydney,   2017,  
  • Plenary
    o Future of the Legal Profession and Law in the Context of the Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence,   St Petersburg International Legal Forum VII, Russia,   2017,  

Learning and Teaching

Teaching Philosophy

I believe in teaching in a collaborative style where the students co-produce along with their teacher.  

Current and Past Courses

  • 21st Century Legal Practice: Professions, Disruption, and Technology (5337LAW)
    Convenor, Mixed Model, South Bank Campus, Trimester 2, 2018.
  • 21st Century Legal Practice: P (5337LAW)
    Convenor, In Person, South Bank Campus, Semester 2, 2018.
  • Law Without Walls (5278LAW)
    Convenor, Mixed Mode, Supervised Research, Gold Coast Campus, Summer semester (Jan/Feb), 2016.
  • Law Without Walls (5278LAW)
    Convenor, Mixed Mode, Supervised Research, Gold Coast Campus, Summer semester (Jan/Feb), 2015.

Research by Higher Degree Supervision or Scholarship




I studied law and sociolegal studies at the LSE, Warwick, and Yale Law School. I took my PhD in sociology at Northwestern University in Chicago under the supervision of Howard Becker, Jack Heinz and Art Stinchcombe.

I worked at the American Bar Foundation as a research associate and Indiana University-Bloomington, the University of Westminster and the UCD Sutherland School of Law before joining Griffith University as Director of the Law Futures Centre

I have been
-Exxon Fellow in Ethics in the Poynter Center at Indiana University
-Academic Visitor in the Sociology Department at LSE
-Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence
-Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
-TranState Adjunct Professor at the University of Bremen

I was a Visiting Professor in the School of Law at the University of Miami and I am now an Honorary Professor of Law at UCL where I used to coordinate the Law Without Walls programme. I am also Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Westminster and an Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Leicester. Since 2017 I have been Research Fellow in the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies. Between 2012 and 2014 I was Leverhulme Research Fellow examining the global consequences of the re-regulation and liberalisation of the legal services market brought on by the UK Legal Services Act 2007. I have presented my findings and contributed to debates and initiatives in Australia, China, Canada, and the US among other countries. I am a founder member of the Legal Services Board Research Strategy Group and a consultant to the International Practice Committee of the New York City Bar Association.


My research focuses primarily on the legal profession, the globalization of law, and the effects of technology in law, especially Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. My first major study was of barristers' clerks, which has been revisited through a Nuffield Foundation sponsored grant. This was followed by an ethnography of a large law firm in Chicago looking at the organisation of the law firm and the relationships between lawyers and clients. This was published in late 2013 by Quid Pro Books, Tulane. I have continued to study the role and position of legal elites in society, especially in the global context. Here my research has looked at the globalization of insolvency as initiated by the Maxwell insolvency, the development of the large global law firms and MDPs, and the relationships between financial institutions and their professional advisers in the context of capital markets. Recent research, funded by the German Science Foundation at Bremen University, examined cross-border lawmaking in large law firms.

My research agenda took on the regulation of lawyers under the Legal Services Act 2007 and the global impact of the legislative changes. And here I worked as an adviser for the Legal Services Board between 2010 and 2014 carrying out research on legal education and the Cab Rank rule.

At the Law Futures Centre I am developing a new research program on how blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are affecting business, regulation and law. And in connection with Dr Monique Lewis of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research I am undertaking research on the ways in which medicinal cannabis is being transformed from a folk remedy to a scientised, efficient medicine by the medical community.

Education and Training

  • PhD Doctor of Philosophy, Northwestern University 1982 - 1987
  • LLM Master Of Laws, Yale University 1980 - 1981
  • LLM Master of Laws, University of Warwick 1975 - 1978
  • LLB Bachelor of Laws, London School of Economics and Political Science 1971 - 1975

Academic experience

  • McCann FitzGerald Professor of International Law and Business, University College Dublin 2014 - 2015
  • Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Westminster 1996 - 2014
  • Reader in Law, University of Westminster 1992 - 1996
  • Assistant Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, Indiana University-Bloomington 1987 - 1992
  • Research Associate, American Bar Foundation 1983 - 1987

Awards and Honours

  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust 2012 - 2014
  • Visiting Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London 1996 - 1997
  • Jean Monnet Fellowship, European University Institute 1990 - 1991
  • Wedderburn Prize for best article, London School of Economics and Modern Law Review 1996 - 1996
  • Exxon Fellowship in Ethics, Indiana University-Bloomington Poynter Center 1988 - 1989
  • Research Fellowship, Indian University-Bloomington 1990 - 1991

External service roles

  • Member of Advisory Board, Data Revolution, Brisbane 2018 -
  • Member of Advisory Board, PIQME, Sydney 2018 -
  • Member of Advisory Board, Legaler, Sydney 2018 -
  • Member of Global Advisory Board, Janders Dean, London and Sydney 2017 -
  • Member of Advisory Board, Connectsocial, Brisbane 2017 - 2018
  • Member of Advisory Board, Horizon State, Melbourne and Brisbane 2017 - 2017
  • Academic Member, Legal Services Board Research Strategy Group 2010 - Present

Visiting appointments

  • Honorary Professor of Law, University of Leicester 2018 -
  • Research Fellow, UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies 2017 -
  • Visiting Professor of Law, University of Westminster 2015 - Present
  • Honorary Professor of Law, University College London 2012 - Present
  • Visiting Professor of Law, University of Miami 2008 - 2010
  • Visiting Professor and TranState Adjunct Professor, Institute for the Study of the Transformation of the State, University of Bremen 2003 - 2010
  • Summer Visiting Professor, University of Miami 2003 - 2013
  • Visiting Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies 2001 - 2004
  • Academic Visitor, London School of Economics and Political Science 1988 - 1988

Editorial roles

  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Blockchain 2018 -
  • Member editorial board, Web Journal of Current Legal Issues 2014 - Present
  • Member editorial board, Journal of Professions and Organization 2013 - Present
  • Editor Legal Profession, Jotwell University of Miami Law School 2009 - Present
  • Member of editorial advisory board, Encyclopaedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives 2001 - Present
  • Member editorial board, International Journal of the Legal Profession 1993 - Present

External advisory roles

  • Member, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Legal Industry Working Group 2017 -
  • Member of Peer Review College and Chair of Law, Religion, History, and Philosophy Panel, Arts and Humanities Research Council 2004 - 2014
  • Expert Assessor of International Standing, Australian Research Council 2002 - Present
  • Member of Research Strategy Group, Legal Services Board UK 2010 - Present