Detail of a high rise in Montreal. By Phil Deforges at

Seminars in Business & Society

Launched in September 2021 under the auspices of the Professorship in Business Law, the McGill Seminars in Business and Society bring together renowned practitioners and scholars, judges and civil society activists to engage with current developments in Canadian and transnational business law. The Fall 2021 seminars are held via Zoom and admission is free. All are welcome.

Winter 2024

Fall 2023

Winter 2023

Fall 2022

Winter 2022


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Seminar Videos

Winter 2022

Alan Dignam - The AI Corporation: Corporate Governance in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. 08/02/2022

The lecture examines three key aspects of the impact of AI on corporate governance. First, the tech industry’s general governance disfunction focused on highly controlling founders, the financing of technology and its impact on operational AI. Second, the corporatisation of AI development as it has moved rapidly in recent years from the universities to the tech companies creating a tension between academic values and corporate utility that in turn creates AI operational disfunction. Third, it examines the impact of operational AI on the corporation as a legal and economic entity which may remove the mitigating function of the board of directors creating a very direct form of market capitalism without any employee, environmental, community or short v long term mitigation of corporate actions. 


Winter 2022

Sophie Schiller - La loi relative au devoir de vigilance après cinq ans: expériences, leçons, futurs. 14/02/2022

La France a été le premier pays à introduire une loi pour imposer aux sociétés de rédiger un plan de vigilance pour prévenir les atteintes graves envers les droits humains et les libertés fondamentales, la santé et la sécurité des personnes ainsi que l'environnement. Ces obligations s'imposent aux sociétés qui emploient plus de 5000 salariés en son sein ou au moins 10000 dans le groupe. 5 ans après, il est intéressant de faire un bilan de l'application de ce texte et des perspectives européennes actuelles pour étendre son application. 

Winter 2022

Ryan Abbott - Artificial Intelligence as Author and Inventor. 18/02/2022

AI and people do not compete on a level-playing field. Self-driving vehicles may be safer than human drivers, but laws often penalize such technology. People may provide superior customer service, but businesses are automating to reduce their taxes. AI may innovate more effectively, but an antiquated legal framework constrains inventive AI. Ryan argues that the law should not discriminate between AI and human behavior and proposes a new legal principle of "AI Legal Neutrality" to ultimately improve human well-being. Among other things, in intellectual property law, AI Legal Neutrality means that we ought to provide intellectual property protection for the creative and inventive output of machines, even in the absence of traditional human authors and inventors, and even allow machines to be authors and inventors as a matter of law. Ryan is spearheading a series of legal test cases around the world seeking patent protection for AI-generated inventions and seeking to list the AI inventor as a patent inventor, with the AI's owner as the owner of any resultant patent rights.

Winter 2022

Darren Rosenblum - Power & Pay in the C-Suite. 07/03/2022

Over the past few decades, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) pay has risen spectacularly, as has debate regarding why this has occurred and whether policy should or can correct it. Yet one glaring fact about the C-Suite eludes much of the corporate governance literature and executive compensation policy reforms and proposals: the C-Suite, particularly the CEO role, has long been and continues to be dominated by men. Despite making up half the workforce, few women lead companies in corporate America. Only 8% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, and women make up less than a quarter of C-level executives. Ample evidence shows that when women come to dominate a profession, the salary of that profession drops. This is particularly true in high-paid white-collar jobs. In a recent essay, published in Inequality Inquiry, we pose the question of whether the opposite proves equally true: as men dominate a profession, does the salary of that profession rise? Might masculinity be the culprit behind increasingly outrageous CEO compensation packages? The essay begins to explore the correlation between executive compensation and men’s domination over senior executive roles, focusing on the CEO position. We delve into various theories that could help explain why men dominate the most lucrative role in corporate America. We argue that law and corporate governance need to account for these theories in designing solutions that address gender disparity in the CEO role. 

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