Faculty Profile: Stepan Wood

Dr. Stepan Wood is a Professor at the Allard School of Law, where his research relates to corporate social responsibility, sustainability, globalization, transnational governance, voluntary standards, climate change, and environmental law. He leads the interdisciplinary Transnational Business Governance Interactions (TBGI) project, an international research network that examines the drivers, dynamics, and impacts of competition, cooperation, coordination, and conflict among transnational initiatives to regulate global business.

Before obtaining his SJD from Harvard Law School, Professor Wood was a law clerk to the late Justice John Sopinka of the Supreme Court of Canada and practised law with White & Case in New York. Prior to joining the Faculty in 2017, Professor Wood was Professor and York Research Chair in Environmental Law and Justice at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he was also Editor-in-Chief of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Coordinator of the York University JD/Master in Environmental Studies joint program, and founding co-director of Osgoode's Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinical Program.

What attracted you to the Allard School of Law?
I was attracted to its critical mass of nationally and internationally recognized scholars doing cutting-edge research at the intersection between business, law, society and the environment, and also the Faculty's friendly and supportive culture.

How did you first become interested in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and globalization?
I first became interested in these topics as a child, growing up with parents who were dedicated to environmental conservation, social justice, and sustainable development.

What research topics are currently of particular interest to you?
My main research interest at present is how marginalized equity-seeking actors in the global system can leverage the complex gaps and overlaps in transnational governance to ratchet up social and environmental standards for business.

What advice would you give to law students entering the legal profession?
The legal profession is in a period of rapid and unpredictable change due to various factors including globalization, automation, and declining access to justice for ordinary people. I would advise law students to focus on developing the skills of careful analysis and persuasion that set lawyers apart from other professions and that cannot be automated. Whatever line of work you go into, these distinctively legal skills will serve you well.