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Introducing our new faculty members: Mohamed Khimji

Mohamed Khimji joins the Faculty of Law as the David Allgood Professor in Business Law.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community as part of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired between 2017-18 and 2022-23.

Mohamed Khimji (Law) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Mr. Khimji is the David Allgood Professor in Business Law.

[Mohamed Khimji]
Mohamed Khimji joined Queen's as the David Allgood Professor in Business Law. (Supplied Photo)
Fast Facts About Mr. Khimji

Department: Law

Hometown: Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania

Alma mater: London School of Econonmics and Political Science (LL.M.)

Research areas: Shareholder democracy, business law

Hobbies include: Champions League football (soccer), listening to Indie pop music, cooking

Mr. Khimji's web bio
Why did you decide to join Queen’s Faculty of Law?
I have been in academia for a while now. I started at Dalhousie University in the Law school there, and later taught at the University of Western Ontario where I became a chair in corporate finance during my last year. Then the opportunity came up at Queen’s to take on the David Allgood professorship, which struck me as a very interesting and exciting opportunity.
For this role, the Faculty of Law was looking for someone to provide leadership to the business law program and increase its research profile. The opportunity to drive this initiative was very appealing. As an academic, it is an opportunity to go beyond teaching and research and to get involved in administration.
If you look at the major areas of practice, Queen’s is very strong in all of them. This is about taking the business law program a step further.
What got you interested in business law?
Like a lot of law students, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Business law is the default thing to do. It’s easy to default into it because the business law firms tend to have a very structured hiring program – if you just flow through it, you get a job and you get into it.
I happened to like it, so I stayed in it and I went to graduate school. I got a bit lucky…I took a leave of absence from my firm to do a master’s with a plan to leave my firm and do a PhD later. Once I published my LLM thesis, Dalhousie offered me a job – I didn’t need to obtain my PhD.
It made no sense to move to Nova Scotia, but when you’re young and naïve you make bolder decisions. So I packed up my car, moved to Halifax, and that started my teaching career.
How has teaching been at Queen’s?
I very much enjoy teaching at Queen’s and I like the students. They’re very smart and engaged. I think Queen’s students are especially nice to deal with as people. I get along with them very well, and part of that might be my leadership role in the business law department.
One thing I want to do is help the students to be more successful here. I want more of them to get the big business law jobs, I want more of them to be successful when they get those jobs. The learning curve is quite steep and I want them to be as prepared as possible, so I engage with them in terms of where we might improve.
Tell us about your research.
Last year I won a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development grant for a five-year empirical study on shareholder democracy.
This is a big corporate governance issue right now – the extent to which we allocate power to shareholders and management. There are different opinions about what is best for society, what is best for capital markets.
I want to find out why shareholders engage and how shareholders engage, and the extent to which they engage.
What I am working on now is a qualitative study where I am interviewing the different players in the shareholder democracy infrastructure. The interviews are necessary to find out information that is not publicly available.
After this, I want to combine some quantitative analysis with the publicly available information and make some policy recommendations.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I have been in academia long enough where some of my earliest students are now quite senior in the profession. My proudest moment is when I had one of my former students come back to my class to deliver a guest lecture.
This student was a partner in a transactional law practice and he gave a lecture in my mergers and acquisitions class. That was a very proud moment – the student coming back to teach the teacher.
How are you settling in?
My family and I have been living in Toronto. We enjoy the time we spend in Kingston, however. I like the small town community feel. I like bumping into people on my way to work and on my way home from work – I like knowing who my neighbours are.
I find I don’t bump into my students as much as you might think in a city this size – which means I don’t see them in compromising situations and they don’t see me in compromising situations!
The Faculty of Law is great and has been very welcoming. It’s an exciting time to be here with the hiring of seven new faculty members starting in July. We have become more diverse in terms of subject matters and methodologies.
I am also looking forward to working with Robert Yalden again. We will be working closely together as he was appointed the inaugural Stephen Sigurdson Professor in Corporate Law and Finance.
[Khimji office Faculty of Law Queen's]
Walking the halls of the Faculty of Law building, Mr. Khimji's office is not hard to spot. (University Communications)
Any hobbies or interests?
I love football (or soccer as Canadians like to call it) and I cheer for Liverpool in the Champions League.
When I was growing up in Tanzania, you could support one of two football teams. It was either Liverpool or Manchester United. My family happened to frequent this teashop that supported Liverpool, so they became my team. It has been an exciting season – Liverpool reached the final, but then lost quite badly in the final.
I also really enjoy cooking. Right now I am interested in Sichuan cuisine and I am a huge Fuchsia Dunlop fan. She is a food writer who went to the famous Sichuan cooking school for a year. I use her books…I love the spice.
And, of course, taking care of my son who is five months old!

Faculty Renewal

Principal Daniel Woolf has identified faculty renewal as a high priority for reinvestment by the university in support of the academic mission. The five-year renewal plan, launched in 2017, will see 200 new faculty hired, which nearly doubles the hiring pace of the previous six years.

Faculty renewal supports Queen’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by giving the university the opportunity to seek, proactively, representation from equity-seeking groups such as women, people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, and racialized individuals. It will also build on Queen’s current areas of research strength.

To learn more about the Principal’s faculty renewal plans, read this Gazette article. Stay tuned for additional new faculty profiles in the Gazette.