John Sherman on the Legal Profession

14 November 2016

By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

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John F Sherman III is the chair of the International Bar Association's business and human rights working group. The IBA has recently published the Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers and its Reference Annex, a project with which Sherman has been closely involved. Sherman is also general counsel and senior advisor at the Shift Project. He was part of the team that advised Professor John Ruggie when he was the UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights from 2008-2011, playing a critical role in shaping the notion of incorporating human rights due diligence into existing business systems, including governance, risk management, and compliance and ethics. Earlier, he was deputy general counsel of National Grid, and represented his company at the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR).

In London recently to launch the Practical Guide, Sherman spoke to IHRB's Salil Tripathi about the purpose and significance of the guide, as well as the mainstreaming of human rights due diligence in the thinking of more companies. He emphasises the 'moral agency' of the legal profession, and is optimistic about the business and human rights agenda getting wider currency beyond the realm of multinational corporations.

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