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Get to Know: Gregory Shill

Gregory Shill, Associate Professor of Law

At the UI since: 
Summer 2017

Ann Arbor, MI

Alma Mater:
Columbia University (BA)
Harvard Law School (JD)
Jewish Theological Seminary (MA)

What did you do before joining Iowa Law? I clerked for a judge, practiced law in New York and London, and taught and conducted research at a few other institutions.  Most recently, I was a fellow in the Program on Corporate Governance at Harvard Law School. 

What courses do you teach? Corporate law and contracts.

What does your scholarship entail? I write about corporate law, corporate governance, and allied fields, and I’m also interested in cities and the law and economics of urban mobility.

How did you decide to join the legal profession? As someone interested in both policy and law, I had a sense that law school would provide the best mix of analytical training and professional options however my interests developed.  Academia was not a route I had given serious thought to.  But then I started law school, and soon thereafter I wanted to become a law professor.

What do you enjoy most about working in a higher education/law school setting? Everything.  It’s the best job—teaching, reading, writing, learning from your colleagues and students, contributing to the development of ideas, law, and policy in the real world.  I find the work very satisfying.

What makes you passionate about your work? I’m passionate about corporate governance because it sits at the intersection of capital markets and human nature.  I enjoy participating in an ongoing academic and real-world conversation about structuring the key relationships involved—both the mechanisms and the underlying purposes of the system are hotly contested!  Day to day, I most appreciate the mix of work and the intellectual stimulation.  It’s a job filled with both variety and depth, where you’re surrounded by extremely sharp people.

Take us through your most memorable (surprising/rewarding/unique) day at the university. I ride my bike to work most days.  It’s just a few minutes, but it’s so rejuvenating.

If you could get rid of one invention in the world, what would you choose? Why? Many urban highways.  The decision to, effectively, trade public and active forms of transportation for networks that flood cities with cars was a policy choice made without much debate or deliberation, and during a time when a different set of values prevailed. We’re still dealing with the consequences today—in terms of economic potential, quality of life, mobility (tens of millions of Americans can’t drive), safety, public health, the climate, social cohesion, and so on.

What’s your favorite book, or what are you reading right now & why do you enjoy it? Right now, I’m reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, about growing up as a mixed-race child under apartheid in South Africa.  I have a personal interest in the book (my parents are from South Africa originally and were active in the anti-apartheid movement), but it’s also just a very funny and humane book.

Greg Shill