Carol Liao

B.A.H (Queen’s); LL.B. LL.M. (UBC); Ph.D./S.J.D. (Joint Degree) (UBC/University of Toronto)

Personal profile


Dr. Carol Liao is an Associate Professor at Allard Law and the UBC Sauder Distinguished Fellow of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at the UBC Sauder School of Business. Her research focuses on corporate law and sustainability, climate governance, gender and racial justice. She is Chair of the Canada Climate Law Initiative, a national research hub dedicated to advancing director knowledge on the latest in climate science and fiduciary obligation.  


Dr. Liao has delivered over 175 invited talks around the world on sustainable business and has been featured and cited over 100 times in TV, radio and news media on corporate governance, ESG and equity issues. She is a member of two UBC research excellence clusters: Decision Insights for Business & Society and the Future Minerals Initiative. As Director of the Centre for Business Law from 2019-2023 (on sabbatical 2023-2024), she hosted 127 professional and scholarly events on range of contemporary business topics and oversaw two experiential learning programs. She is Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Insight Grant-funded empirical study on sustainable corporate governance. 


Dr. Liao is the recipient of the Influential Women in Business Award from Business in Vancouver, the Women of the Year Award (Equity and Inclusion Champion) from BCBusiness, and was named as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network


Committed to community-engaged scholarship, Dr. Liao is featured in the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) BC documentary But I Look Like a Lawyer (screened at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival) and sits on the FACL BC Advisory Committee. She delivered the closing keynote at the 43rd Annual Women in Law Dinner (transcript) and FACL BC 10th Anniversary Gala (transcript). Dr. Liao is a member of the Solicitors' Legal Opinions Committee of BC and serves on the Advisory Council for BCBusiness. She is also a director of the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre - Museum of Migration Society, an anti-racist museum dedicated to broadening collective memories in the Pacific Northwest. 


At UBC, Dr. Liao is a Steering Committee member of the Climate Solutions Research Collective and UBC Centre for Asian Canadian Research Engagement. She also sits on the Advisory Board for The Phil Lind Initiative. In recognition of her work in the community, she received the TELUS Community Service Award and Canada's 2024 Clean50 Award,


Before joining UBC, Dr. Liao was a faculty member at the University of Victoria where she received the UVic Law Students’ Society First Year Class Teaching Award. Prior to academia, she was a senior associate in the New York Mergers & Acquisitions Group of Shearman & Sterling LLP, where she represented public and private multinational corporations in a variety of transactional and governance matters. She also served at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She is a former judicial clerk of the BC Court of Appeal.


Professional Affiliations

  • Centre for Asian Legal Studies
  • Centre for Business Law
  • Centre for Feminist Legal Studies
  • Centre for Law and the Environment


  • Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Contracts
  • Courts
  • Litigation
  • Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility