Dr Joanne Sonin

Visiting Fellow

LSE Law School

Connect with me

English, French, Hebrew
Key Expertise
law & finance; shareholders / stakeholders

About me

Joanne Sonin is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE, where she is engaged with research in company law.  Dr Sonin completed her PhD in law at the LSE in 2021, The evolution of the shareholder: legal change, deflection, and constancy, under the supervision of Prof. David Kershaw and Mr. Edmund Schuster. Dr Sonin combines academic research with her work in the financial sector.

Research interests

Dr. Sonin is interested in the intersection between company law and corporate finance, and in particular the disconnect between the law and corporate behaviour.  Her research addresses aspects of company law, corporate governance, regulation, law & economics, corporate finance, and corporate purpose.  Dr Sonin, who also holds a PhD in classics (Cantab), is interested in legal history and the history of law.

Current research project

Dr Sonin is currently working on the monograph based on her doctoral research, Shareholders and stakeholders:  the unrealised promise of company-law reform in post-war Britain, which is a historical approach to the study of public-market equity investors, focusing on the evolving role and behaviour of shareholders in the context of changing legal, political, economic, and social conditions.  This research examines the shareholder in the post-war period and how the evolution of the shareholder body influenced corporate behaviour and the relationships amongst stakeholders, impacting the legal and political efforts to govern industry and financial markets.  This work on the post-war shareholder addresses a number of themes, including: i) how the broader movements for democratisation influenced the treatment of shareholder interests and calls for stakeholder representation; ii) how the rhetoric of change created a narrative that deflected from the lack of systemic legal reforms and protected the status quo; iii) how, in the environment of the post-war consensus, attitudes towards equity ownership by the governing political parties deradicalised, which proved unsustainable with increasing industrial unrest and polarisation; and iv) how the institutionalisation of the shareholder body in the post-war period had profound effects on industry, the financial markets, and the economy. With these themes as a foundation, the evolutionary arch of the post-war shareholder body is examined, focusing on several key developments that influenced the treatment and perception of shareholder and stakeholder interests, including: i) nationalisations; ii) shareholder democracy; iii) corporate purpose and shareholder primacy; and iv) industrial democracy.  This research also examines the post-1979 changes to shareholder and stakeholder interests,  and in particular reforms to the Companies Act, and how these fit within the wider social, political, and economic contexts. Finally, the historical analysis of the shareholder in the post-war period provides a platform from which to consider contemporary questions on shareholder primacy and stakeholderism, corporate behaviour and purpose, and the demands for systemic legal reforms.