Photo: Alton Christensen

Lawrence Lessig

Constitutional Scholar and Activist

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and serves as director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He taught for nine years at Stanford Law School, where he founded Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. Earlier in his career, Lessig taught at University of Chicago Law School and clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and for Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

Lessig is the founder of New Hampshire Rebellion, an initiative that aims to raise awareness on the need for campaign finance reform and encourages voters to ask all the presidential candidates: How are you going to end the system of corruption in Washington? In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, a grassroots project of Fund for the Republic, which fights the corrupting influence of money on government.

Lessig has focused much of his academic career on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. He is the author of five books on the subject: Remix (2008), Codev2 (2007), Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001), and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999). He has served as lead counsel in important cases marking the boundaries of copyright law in a digital age, including Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, and Golan v. Holder. More recently, Lessig has covered the effects of money in politics and potential remedies in his books Lesterland (2013), One Way Forward (2012), and Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It (2011).

Lessig has won numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, and was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. Lessig serves on the boards of Creative Commons, Brave New Films Foundation, and He is also on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation and AXA Scientific Research Fund. He has previously served on the boards of Change Congress, Free Software Foundation, the Software Freedom Law Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Public Library of Science, Free Press, The American Academy in Berlin, Freedom House, and Public Knowledge.

Lessig earned a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and a JD from Yale University.