Lawrence Lessig

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Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig May 2017.jpg
Born June 3, 1961 (1961-06-03) (age 56)
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
Education B.S. in management
B.A. in economics
M.A. in philosophy
Juris Doctor in law
Alma mater Wharton School
Trinity College, Cambridge
Yale Law School
Occupation academic and political activist
Employer Harvard University
Known for Founder, Creative Commons
Founder, Rootstrikers
Founder, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
Title Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University
Professor of law at Harvard Law School
Spouse(s) Bettina Neuefeind
Website lessig.org

Lawrence "Larry" Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic and political activist. He is known for his work in reducing legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency. He has been an activist against the Second Amendment and created the Second Constitutional Convention.[1]

Early life[change | change source]

Lessig was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, the son of Patricia, who sold real estate, and Lester L. "Jack" Lessig, an engineer.[2][3] He grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He studied at the Wharton School, at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Yale University. For a year, he worked as a clerk in Chicago.

Career[change | change source]

Academic[change | change source]

Lessig started his academic career at the University of Chicago Law School, where he was Professor from 1991 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000, he was at Harvard Law School, holding for a year the chair of Berkman Professor of Law, affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He subsequently joined Stanford Law School, where he established the school's Center for Internet and Society.[4]

Lessig returned to Harvard in December 2008 as Professor and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.[5] In 2013, Lessig was appointed as the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership; his chair lecture was titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age."[6][7] In 2013, Lessig was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Lund University, Sweden.[8]

Political activism[change | change source]

Lessig is currently considered politically liberal. As a law clerk, however, he worked for both Judge Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia, two influential conservative judges.

Lessig has emphasized in interviews that his philosophy experience at Cambridge radically changed his values and career path. Previously, he had held strong conservative or libertarian political views.

2016 presidential campaign[change | change source]

In August 2015, Lessig announced that he was exploring a possible candidacy for President of the United States in the 2016 election.[9] On September 6, 2015, Lessig announced that he would run for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.[10] Almost two months into the campaign trail, poor polling numbers and not being qualified to enter the debates, Lessig dropped out on November 2, 2015.[11]

Personal life[change | change source]

Lessig is married to Bettina Neuefeind. He is the father of three children (Willem, Teo, and Tess).[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. Alesh Houdek (November 16, 2011). "Has a Harvard Professor Mapped Out the Next Step for Occupy Wall Street?". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 17, 2011. Lawrence Lessig's call for state-based activism on behalf of a Constitutional Convention could provide the uprooted movement with a political project for winter 
  2. http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/10.10/lessig_pr.html
  3. http://knowledge.sagepub.com/view/newmedia/n146.xml
  4. Lawrence, Lessig. "Short Biography". Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  5. "Lawrence Lessig named professor of law at HLS, director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics". Harvard Law School. December 12, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2010. 
  6. Lessig on "Aaron's Laws – Law and Justice in a Digital Age". YouTube (2013-02-20). Retrieved on 2013-09-19.
  7. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review – A summary of Lawrence Lessig’s Chair Lecture at Harvard Law School. Harvardcrcl.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-19.
  8. [1] Archive copy at the Internet Archive
  9. Foran, Clare (August 11, 2015). "Why Exactly Is Lawrence Lessig Considering Running for President?". National Journal. Retrieved August 11, 2015. 
  10. Walker, Hayley (September 6 2015). "Harvard Professor Larry Lessig Says He's Running for President". ABC News. Retrieved September 6 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  11. Strauss, Daniel (November 2, 2015). "Lessig drops out of presidential race". Politico. Retrieved November 2, 2015. 
  12. "Personal Life - Lawrence Lessig: A Biography". Hyperink.com. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 

Other websites[change | change source]