Ruth Okediji to Join Law School Faculty, Berkman Klein Center

Ruth L. Okediji, an intellectual property lawyer and professor, will join the Harvard Law School faculty as a tenured professor and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center in July, the Law School announced Friday.

Okediji, whose scholarship also focuses on global economic regulation, received both her Master of Laws and Doctorate of Juridical Science from the Law School and is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. She also served as a visiting professor at the Law School during the 2015-2016 academic year.

“I did have a wonderful visit in the 2015-2016 year and of course Harvard is my alma mater,” Okediji said. “It’s always great to be home.”

Okediji said she will teach a contracts course for first-year Law School students and an intellectual property course. She said she is looking forward to working with students, both at the Law School and undergraduates, on integrating real work applications into her teaching.

Harvard Law School Library
The Law School library.

“I think at no other time in our history has the rule of law been so relevant to countries around the world, and in my field, intellectual property, rules and the certainty and the reliability of rules affect almost all spheres of life,” Okediji said.

At the Berkman Klein Center, Okediji said she hopes to work on access to information and how Internet regulations impact people’s ways of life in developing countries, especially in Africa.

“I am hoping to be involved in promoting rules that greatly expand access to information in developing countries, particularly in countries where access to the internet has been threatened or has been underutilized,” Okediji said. “I’m very excited to be a part of that community and to explore how both the study of the Internet and proposals for its governance can influence in positive ways or, sometimes, can take us a step backward.”

Urs Gasser, the executive director of the Berkman Klein Center, wrote in an email that Okediji’s global expertise will benefit the center.

“Professor Okediji's thought-leadership in innovation policy, [intellectual property], and international law with a focus on the Global South will bolster our ongoing global research and network-building efforts,” Gasser wrote.

The Center also announced Friday that Margo Seltzer, a computer science professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Rebecca Tushnet, a professor at Georgetown Law School who was hired in November to join the Law School faculty in July, were appointed co-directors along with Okediji.

—Staff writer Jamie D. Halper can be reached at jamie.halper@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @JamieDHalper.

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