Cynthia A. Williams

Professor Emerita


Professor Cynthia Williams joined Osgoode Hall Law School on July 1, 2013, as the Osler Chair in Business Law, a position she also held from 2007 to 2009. She also currently holds a part-time position as Professor of U.S. Corporate and Securities Law at the Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam. Before joining Osgoode, she was a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Law, where she is an emerita Professor of Law, and, prior to that, she practiced law at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City in securities, mergers and acquisitions, and civil rights.

Professor Williams writes in the areas of securities law, corporate law, corporate responsibility, comparative corporate governance, and regulatory theory, often in interdisciplinary collaborations with professors in anthropology, economic sociology, and organizational psychology.  Her work has been published in the Academy of Management Review, the Harvard Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Journal of Corporation Law, Theoretical Inquiries in Law, the University of Texas Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, among others, and in chapters in multiple books published by the Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. Professor Williams’ Business Associations casebook, co-authored with Gordon Smith, will be coming out in its fifth edition in 2022.

Professor Williams also engages in policy work through her board membership in the Climate Bonds Initiative, a London-based NGO creating a new asset class, Climate Bonds, to finance the transition to a low-carbon economy; the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative, part of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, which is evaluating directors’ and trustees’ legal obligations to consider climate change risk in companies’ strategies and securities disclosure; and was the principal author of a petition submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in October, 2018, asking the SEC to engage in rule-making to require greater sustainability (environmental, social, and governance) and corporate disclosures, a process in which the Commission is now engaged.


JD New York University School of Law
BA University of California, Berkeley 


Securities Regulation