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Second Berkman Center Prof Wins Tenure

Zittrain, Oxford cyberlaw expert, to return to Cambridge as full professor

By Kevin Zhou, Crimson Staff Writer

A leading expert in cyberlaw who has published extensive work on policy issues regarding the Internet has accepted an offer to become a tenured professor at Harvard Law School, school officials announced last week.

The appointment of Jonathan Zittrain—who is currently a professor at the University of Oxford and a faculty co-director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society—follows that of John G. Palfrey, Jr. '94, Zittrain's Berkman Center colleague who had previously been a clinical professor.

"There's a distinctiveness to Oxford—a sort of best of Hogwarts, without the brooms—that I'll miss a lot, and perhaps there are elements that could be emulated here," said Zittrain, who started splitting time between Harvard and Oxford in 2005. "HLS is one of the most vibrant academic environments in the world. It's a place that is eager to forge connections with other universities, other disciplines, and with the world beyond academia."

Zittrain's appointment comes amid a string of recent hires by Law School Dean Elena Kagan that includes Cass R. Sunstein '75 of the University of Chicago and Michael J. Klarman of the University of Virginia.

Zittrain will continue to serve as a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center, a research institute that he helped found in 1997.

In recent years, Zittrain and his colleagues at the Berkman Center have been working on a number of participatory projects, including the OpenNet Initiative—which "tracks Internet filtering by governments around the world"—and StopBadware—which "looks for participatory technologies to help discover bad code on the Internet and mark it with digital danger flares."

Zittrain, who graduated from the Law School in 1995, said that the opportunity to work full-time with the center at a time when it was becoming a University-wide institute played an important role in convincing him to cross the pond.

"The Berkman Center was crucial: there's just no other place like it in the world," he said. "It's particularly exciting to be coming back at a time when the Berkman Center is going University-wide, and with fellows and faculty whose work spans so many different ideas and approaches."

In a statement, Kagan, who Zittrain praised for "working to put HLS on the forefront of technology in teaching and research," lauded Zittrain's scholarship and continued role with the Berkman Center.

"In the field of cyberlaw, Jonathan Zittrain is a true pioneer," Kagan said. "His scholarly work is some of the most thought-provoking in legal academia, and the ideas he grapples with are literally pushing the frontiers of his field."

—Staff writer Kevin Zhou can be reached at

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