Cynthia A. Williams
Professor Williams graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law where she was an articles editor of the New York University Law Review, a Root-Tilden Public Interest Scholar, and a member of Order of the Coif. While at NYU, she also earned several American Jurisprudence Awards.
After graduation, Professor Williams clerked for Judge Milton L. Schwartz, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. She then joined the New York office of Cravath, Swaine & Moore as a litigation associate, where she primarily handled cases involving securities, mergers and acquisitions, and antitrust issues, and a number of civil rights and constitutional law cases for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, including litigation in the United States Supreme Court.
Professor Williams has been a visiting professor at Fordham University School of Law and a visiting associate professor and research fellow at the Georgetown-Sloan Project on Business Institutions at Georgetown University Law Center, and most recently a visiting research fellow at the University of Cambridge Centre for Business Research. At the University of Illinois, Williams was a fellow in the Interdisciplinary Program for the Study of Cultural Values and Ethics.
Professor Williams writes in the areas of securities law and corporate law, with a particular emphasis on the corporate social relationship. Her Harvard Law Review article, "The Securities and Exchange Commission and Corporate Social Transparency," was the lead article reprinted in the Securities Law Review 2000, and was recognized by Corporate Practice Commentator as one of the 10 best corporate or securities articles published in 1999.
Professor Williams' recent work examining the corporate social responsibility trend in global business is based on a number of interdisciplinary collaborations, involving anthropology (with Prof. John Conley), business (with Prof. Ruth Aguilera), organizational psychology (with Prof. Deborah Rupp,) and law. These collaborations have led to publications in the Academy of Management Review (forthcoming); the Corporate Governance International Review; the Georgetown Law Review; the Journal of Corporation Law; the Journal of Organizational Behavior; Oxford University Press (forthcoming) and the international law journals at Cornell University and New York University.
Prof. Williams does research in comparative corporate governance as well, and with Prof. John Conley argues for a re-examination of the theory of the "Anglo-American corporate system," suggesting instead that the UK and the US have distinct corporate governance systems that are becoming increasingly different in light of the greater importance given to long-term social and environmental issues among institutional investors in the UK versus the US. See Williams & Conley, An Emerging Third Way? The Erosion of the Anglo-American Shareholder Value Construct, 38 Cornell Int’l L. J. 493 (2005). In April, 2006, Prof. Williams hosted an international conference in Chicago based on this work, entitled "Capital Markets and Corporate Governance: Pressures to Think Short-Term?" Participants included academics from England and the United States, and market participants such as institutional investors, pension funds, and asset managers from both countries.
Prof. Williams is also a casebook author with Prof. Gordon Smith of the University of Wisconsin, publishing a casebook entitled Business Organizations: Cases, Problems, and Case Studies with Aspen Press in 2004.