2021 Thomas A. Kochan and Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Award

June 7, 2021 by Cate MacLeod

Congratulations to Dr. Yao Yao (CIRHR PhD 2020), whose dissertation, Uberizing the Legal Profession? Three Essays on Lawyers in Digital Platform-based Legal Services, has been named a co-winner of the Labor and Employment Relations Association’s 2021 Thomas A. Kochan and Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Awards Competition.

"Each year, the Thomas A. Kochan & Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Award committee reads thousands of pages of dissertations and determines which papers are the most significant contributions to the body of research in the field."

Dr. Yao is Assistant Professor at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. She won the 2019 Allen Ponak Award for Best Student Paper from the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (CIRA) for "Uberizing the Legal Profession? Lawyer Autonomy and Status in the Digital Legal Market," which was later published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations

Following the announcement of the Ponak Award, Yao described some of the questions raised by the presence of high-skilled workers in the online gig economy.

“Licensed professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, can usually expect reputable employment. It is therefore puzzling why, given the worsening working conditions of online gig work, professionals would join online labour platforms and risk precarity.” 

The award was recognized at the LERA 73rd Annual Meeting.