Professor Sida Liu's newly funded project studies lawyers in East Asia to understand the spatial consequences of globalization

June 20, 2017 by Sherri Klassen

Professor Sida Liu recently received funding from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange to pursue research on the geographic integration of lawyers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.

Although globalization is often understood as a process of institutional diffusion and creative destruction, Professor Liu argues that it is also a process of spatial integration. China’s rapid rise as a regional and global power in the early twenty-first century has presented both opportunities and threats for adjacent economies in East Asia, particularly Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Professor Liu's project will use three closely connected corporate legal markets in the Greater China Region (i.e., Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China) to discover the spatial and relational consequences of globalization. His project involves participant observation in law firms, in-depth interviews with lawyers and in-house counsel, and a systematic collection of relevant statistics and reports of professional associations and the media. Through this research, Professor Liu will learn how the lawyers across adjacent national boundaries relate to each other and how workplace interactions shape the boundaries between lawyers, between law firms, or between lawyers and business corporations in the Greater China Region.

At the key intersection between the sociology of law and globalization studies, this project will not only provide the first large-scale social science study on the legal professions in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also contribute to the emerging body of sociological scholarship on how globalization shapes emerging economies, such as the BRICS countries.