Lippes Speaker Series to Feature Renowned Harvard ethicist Lawrence Lessig

By Charles Anzalone

Release Date: April 2, 2012 This content is archived.


Related Multimedia

Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig will deliver UB's annual Lippes Speakers Series lecture.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Award-winning ethicist and Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, will deliver a lecture entitled "Institutional Corruption and the Financial Crisis."

The event will be held at University at Buffalo Law School on April 19, at 7 p.m., in John Lord O'Brian Hall, Room 106 on UB's North Campus.

Lessig's address, co-sponsored by the UB Law School and the UB School of Management, is part of the Gerald S. Lippes Speaker Series, one of the university's highest-profile lecture series. The event is free and open to the public.

According to S. Todd Brown, an associate professor atUB Law School and director of its Center for the Study of Business Transactions, Lessig and Safra Center for Ethics have assumed prominent roles in advancing Harvard's understanding of institutional corruption in business and the American political system.

In the political sphere, "we are not necessarily talking about illegal activity," Brown says, "just the corruption of its purpose. Much of his work has been about what roles are being corrupted by the way that things are done."

For example, Brown says, because of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, "many are concerned that we will wind up with these organizations that throw money into political advertising and campaigns at unprecedented levels in order to obtain influence with elected officials.

"It does raise troubling questions, and it's a great time to have these kinds of discussions, especially with the upcoming presidential election."

Brown says, "Lessig turned his attention to these questions long before they jumped front and center in the public consciousness. Before Occupy Wall Street and before some within the Tea Party movement latched onto these kinds of questions, Lessig and others working with the Safra Center were focused on improving our understanding of the difficult problems they present."

Lessig's previous scholarship focused on law and technology, and he has authored five books on the subject. He also served as lead counsel in a number of important cases marking the boundaries of copyright law in a digital age.

In addition to teaching at Harvard, he was professor of law at Stanford Law School where he founded Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, and professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Lessig clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

He earned a bachelor of arts in economics and a bachelor of science in management from the University of Pennsylvania, a master of arts in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale.

He has received honorary degrees from the University of Amsterdam, Athabasca University and the Georgian-American University.

The Gerald S. Lippes Speaker Series focuses on current issues and topics related to business and finance. It is part of a larger effort to foster an integrated understanding of the worlds of business and law and to encourage a collaborative dialogue between business and legal professionals.

Last year's speaker was Harvey R. Miller, a nationally renowned bankruptcy lawyer and partner in the international law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, who spoke on "Financial Failure in Bankruptcy through the Prism of Lehman Brothers and General Motors."

Other presentations have included panels on health care reform; Fortune magazine writer and author of "Faith and Fortune," Marc Gunther; and Pietra Rivoli, a Georgetown University business professor and author of "The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy."

The series is funded by the support of Gerald S. Lippes, a 1964 graduate of the UB Law School and a partner in the Buffalo law firm Lippes, Mathias, Wexler, and Friedman LLP.

To attend the lecture, please register at:

For inquiries, please call 716-645-3204.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School -- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes SUNY Buffalo Law unique among the nation's premier public law schools.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit