Yale Law School Professor Yochai Benkler ’94 has accepted a tenured offer to join the Harvard Law School faculty. Benkler is a renowned expert in information law and policy, communications law, and intellectual property.
“Yochai Benkler is a pathbreaking scholar whose work challenges current thinking about the way society regulates ideas and information,” said Dean Elena Kagan ’86. “His deep and probing intellect combine with his interdisciplinary focus and range to make him an important appointment not only for Harvard Law School, but for the entire University. He is a marvelous teacher and mentor, and he will bring boundless energy, excitement, and vision to our community. We are very lucky to have him.”
Benkler is known for his research about how information technology is transforming the economy and society by making large-scale collaboration possible. In his influential paper titled “Coase’s Penguin,” he coined the term “commons-based peer production” to describe projects made possible by digital technology, such as Wikipedia or open source software.
“It is wonderful to be coming back to the Harvard Law School,” Benkler said. “I am thrilled to be able to reconnect with old friends, and look forward to building new friendships, starting new conversations, and opening a new chapter in life in Cambridge.”
In addition to his many scholarly articles published in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Duke Law Journal, the International Review of Law and Economics, and the New York University Law Review, Benkler is the author of two books: “The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom” and “Rules of the Road for the Information Superhighway: Electronic Communications and the Law.”
Prior to joining the Yale Law faculty in 2003, Benkler began his teaching career at the New York University School of Law in 1996, where he was also director of the Engleberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy and the Information Law Institute. He was a visiting professor at HLS in 2002.
Benkler holds an LL.B. from Tel-Aviv University and a J.D. from HLS. After graduating from HLS, Benkler was an associate at Ropes & Gray in Boston, and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer ’64.
Benkler will join several new faculty members, including Noah Feldman, Kathy Spier, Gabriella Blum, James Greiner, and Robert Sitkoff, when he begins at HLS this fall. He is the 20th tenured or tenure-track professor hired by HLS in the past four academic years.