John Palfrey is Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. In these roles at Harvard Law School, he is director of the school’s library and Co-Chair of the IT committee. He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Palfrey’s research and teaching focus on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world. He is the co author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008) and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008).
Palfrey came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a special assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. While attending Harvard Law School, Palfrey worked at the Berkman Center, was a teaching fellow in Internet Law, and served as an editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. From 2002–2008, he served as executive director of the Berkman Center.
Palfrey graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School. He was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year. He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and was awarded the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award). Palfrey is admitted to the New York and Massachusetts bars.