Adding to a faculty that is becoming an embarrassment of riches, Harvard Law School has once again nabbed one of the nation’s top legal scholars to come teach in Cambridge. Harvard recently named Lawrence Lessig to its faculty and announced that Lessig will run the Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.
This hire both continues a pattern of aggressive faculty hiring by dean Elena Kagan and also signifies an important wrinkle in that pattern, which is is that Harvard went after a Stanford professor in this instance. Harvard and Stanford have been dueling for some time now as both schools made recent announcements of new grading systems (to mirror those of Yale) and have been taking turns hiring away renowned professors from Yale, Chicago, and other top schools. But this time, one has hired away a monster name from the other.
Lessig has been at Stanford since 2000 and has become a powerhouse in both constitutional law as well as in the ever-evolving intellectual property space. For Harvard to land him now, on the heels of hiring Cass Sunstein away from Chicago, shows some serious resolve.
Harvard’s ongoing makeover from a bureaucratic machine to a vibrant, student-centric educational community has been addressed before in this space and is nothing short of remarkable. And though this too has been stressed in previous posts, law school applicants simply can’t ignore these types of stories. The faculty hires and departures of today are what impact and define tomorrow’s educational experiences and the next day’s job prospects. Harvard is winning the battle on all fronts.
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