Mimi Zou

Mimi Zou holding a small dog

Please write a bit about your background.

I am a child of the 1980s. I was born in southern China. My parents migrated to Australia in 1989 and left me with my paternal grandmother for nearly four years. I was able to be reunited with my parents and baby sister in 1992. I grew up in multicultural Sydney and undertook most of my primary and secondary school education there. I completed my economics and law honours degrees at the University Sydney. I worked in a range of odd jobs around the world (including running an education start-up, working for a Minister, joining the civil service, practising corporate law, and consulting for an UN organisation) before arriving in Oxford in 2010 for the BCL. I completed my law DPhil in 2014 and worked in academia in Hong Kong and New York before returning to Oxford in 2017. 

What led you to a career in academia?

The intellectual journey that I experienced during the BCL and DPhil at Oxford inspired me to pursue a new career in academia. During my DPhil, I discovered the joy of contributing rigorous research and novel ideas to shape public debates, as well as to train young lawyers how to think critically about the law. 

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I am working on a book project that delves into the nature, scope, and implications of Artificial Intelligence in relation to contracting practices and contract law. I am very excited to be collaborating with a global team of lawyers, computer scientists, economists, political scientists, and linguists from academia, legal practice, policy, and the technology sector. The book will be the first of its kind to comprehensively examine this new and timely topic from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective.

What is your favourite place to visit in the world?

An Olympic-size swimming pool nestled under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with sweeping views of the harbour and city that will always be home to me.

Do you have any other accomplishments besides your academic career?

A minor extracurricular accomplishment many years ago (during my DPhil) was being the top female competitor at the Oxbridge Varsity powerlifting competition. At one point, I was qualifying for the Asian Games but unfortunately suffered a major shoulder injury in the trials. Upon recovery, I continued with weight training but gave up on the competitions. Since then, I have also helped many friends and colleagues with strength training, which I very much enjoy!

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