Asian man with glasses, mid-40s, sitting in front books.

Sida Liu


Associate Professor of Sociology and Law, University of Toronto; Research Professor, American Bar Foundation; Affiliate Faculty, HLS Center on the Legal Profession

Professor Sida Liu received his LL.B. degree from Peking University Law School and his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. He joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto in 2016 after teaching sociology and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a non-budgetary cross-appointment at the Faculty of Law.

Professor Liu’s research interests include the sociology of law, organizations and professions, criminal justice, globalization, and social theory. He has conducted extensive empirical research on China’s legal reform and legal profession, including the globalization of corporate law firms, the political mobilization of criminal defense lawyers, the feminization of judges, and the career mobility of law practitioners. His current project examines China’s influence on the legal professions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition to his empirical work, Professor Liu also writes on sociolegal theory and general social theory, particularly theories of social space and social process following the tradition of Georg Simmel and the Chicago School of sociology.

Professor Liu is the author of three books in Chinese and English, most recently, Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work (with Terence C. Halliday, Cambridge University Press, 2016). He has also published many articles in leading law and social science journals, including the American Journal of SociologySociological TheoryLaw & Society ReviewLaw & Social InquiryChina Quarterly, etc. Professor Liu is a Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, as well as an affiliated scholar of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University School of Law and the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. In 2016-2017, he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.