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As Shift’s General Counsel and Senior Advisor, John focuses on the role of the legal profession in the implementation of the Guiding Principles in their role as business advisors.

John F. Sherman III

John F. Sherman III

General Counsel, Senior Advisor and Secretary | Boston

As Shift’s General Counsel and Senior Advisor, John focuses on the role of the legal profession in the implementation of the Guiding Principles in their role as business advisors.

John is an internationally recognized thought leader on this subject. He chairs the business and human rights working group of the International Bar Association. He writes frequently in professional and academic journals, and is a sought-after speaker at legal conferences and workshops, advocating for lawyers’ role in ensuring companies do business with respect for human rights. John is a founder of the IBA CSR Committee, and was its co-chair from 2008 to 2010.

From 2008 to 2011, John was part of the central team advising the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights John Ruggie. Based on his prior corporate experience, John helped shape how human rights due diligence – a core concept of the Guiding Principles – could be incorporated into existing business systems, including governance, enterprise risk management, compliance and ethics, safety and environmental management and dispute resolution. 

Since 2011, John has also been a Senior Program Fellow at the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. From 2008 through 2010, John was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. Since 2009, John has been an Executive Fellow at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University.

Prior to his work on the Guiding Principles, John was deputy general counsel of National Grid, where he had senior and executive level responsibilities for litigation, antitrust, health, safety and environmental law, corporate governance, enterprise risk management, and ethics and compliance. He represented the company at the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR), and was a member of the Executive Advisory Board of the International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution. 

Prior to joining National Grid, John clerked for the federal district court in Atlanta, and practiced commercial litigation and antitrust law at a Boston law firm. John is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College. He is a US national.

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