Stephen Wilks

Stephen Wilks

Associate Professor of Law

Stephen WIlks
Contact Info:
Campus: Riverfront Campus
Building: Dowling Hall
Room: 317
Phone: 313-596-0279
Stephen WIlks
Areas of Expertise:
Business Associations
Secured Transactions
Payment Systems
Comparative Commercial Law


  • Ph.D. Osgoode Hall Law School, York University ’11
  • LL.M. Osgoode Hall Law School, York University ’07
  • J.D. Queen's University ’99
  • M.S.W. Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto ’96
  • B.A. Queen’s University ’94


Professor Wilks joined Detroit Mercy Law in 2019 following two years as a Visiting Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University and tenure-track appointments at two other law schools. He was granted tenure at Detroit Mercy Law in 2022. His cross-disciplinary research interests explore themes of governance and regulation within transactional spaces. He has examined government use of private payment networks to facilitate various forms of financial surveillance; the role of transnational networks in harmonizing critical segments of the world’s financial system; and the politicization of migrant remittance flows between developed and developing economies. Future projects will focus on digital currency adoption and the legal anthropology of money.

Wilks practiced law and gained his initial teaching experience in Canada. He holds a B.A. in history and a J.D. from Queen’s University; an M.S.W. from the University of Toronto; and an LL.M. and Ph.D. from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. His doctoral dissertation, titled, Swimming in the Crosscurrents: Rethinking the Dynamics of Remittance Regulation Within the Regulatory Dialectic of Networked Global Governance, examined the politicization of regulating migrant remittances. During his studies at Osgoode Hall, he was awarded the Harry Arthurs Fellowship (2008), the Willard Estey Teaching Fellowship (2009-2010) and the Nathanson Fellowship (2010). His student-edited and peer-reviewed writings have appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice, the Cornell International Law Journal, and other publications. 


    Courses Taught

    Borders Sales and Financing I and II

    Business Associations


    Selected Publications

    Sheriffs, Shills, or Just Paying the Bills?: Rethinking the Merits of Compelling Merchant Co-Operation with Third-Party Policing in the Aftermath of George Floyd's Death, 79 Washington and Lee Law Review 5 (2023)

    Opportunistic Prosecution? Huawei and The Role of Banking Regulation in China's Trade War With the United
    States, in Elizabeth Kirley and Tonita Murray, eds., Big Policy and Big Crime: Is it All About the Money? (University of Toronto Press 2021) (in progress)

    Designed for Disruption: When Covid19 Collides with a Fractured Supply Chain and a Politicized Global Trading System in Elizabeth Kirely & Deborah Porter, eds., Outsmarting the Next Pandemic (forthcoming) 

    Disturbing the Modern Plantation: How Covid19 is Reinforcing the Food Supply Chain's Function as a Social Sorting Tool30 Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol’y (2021)

    Chasing the Fruits of Misery: Confronting the Historical Relationships Between Opioid Revenues, Offshore Financial Centers, And International Regulatory Networks, 41 Nw. J. Int'l L. & Bus (2021).

    The Reimagined Schoolyard: Social Participation, Hegemony, and Cryptocurrency’s Adoption in Tomorrow’s International Monetary Order, 2020 B.C. INTELL. PROP. & TECH. F. 1

    Private Interests, Public Law, and Reconfigured Inequality in Modern Payment Card Networks, 123 DICK. L. REV. 307 (2019) (Lead Article).

    A Complicated Alchemy: Identity Politics, and the Politicization of Migrant Remittances, 50 CORNELL INTL L.J. 285 (2017)