Lessig ditches Stanford for Harvard

Larry Lessig is leaving Stanford Law School to rejoin the faculty at Harvard Law School, a necessary move to help him fight corruption.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

Larry Lessig, professor of law at Stanford Law School, is leaving the West Coast to head to the Stanford of the East, Harvard Law School, according to Harvard. Lessig used to teach at Harvard Law School, so it should prove to be a comfortable change, and perhaps in keeping with his shift from "West Coast code" to "East Coast code", to an emphasis on overcoming corruption in politics. (No, not that kind of corruption.)

Lessig was my professor at Stanford Law School, and became a mentor to me there, though I fought his ideas for the first year that I worked with him. In his class "Open Sources" I rejected what I then viewed as a cavalier attitude toward the growth of open source: he saw a rosy future for open source, but I was less sanguine, believing that without viable business models open source was doomed to niche status.

We were both right. As it turned out, open source has done just fine, but precisely because we've figured out how to integrated open-source code with commerce. My early foray into this idea was, in fact, my third-year thesis paper [PDF], which Lessig advised.

I've developed a huge amount of respect for Lessig over the years. He's an exceptional person, and an amazing scholar. I'll be sad to see him leave Stanford for Harvard, but if it makes him more geographically proximate to the problems he's trying to solve, all the better for the industry.