Law School appoints John Williams as its first Innovation Lab Expert in Residence

John Williams '79

John Williams ’79

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow has appointed Boston entrepreneur John Williams ’79 as the Law School’s inaugural Expert in Residence (EIR).  The EIR program has been created in partnership with the new University-wide Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), a new initiative that fosters team-based and entrepreneurial activities and deepens interactions among Harvard students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and members of the Allston and Greater Boston communities.

Dean Minow said: “I’m delighted that John Williams is serving as HLS’s first Expert in Residence. His expertise as an entrepreneur and social innovator will offer invaluable insights to law students and students from across the university as they explore their own creative ideas. The spirit of innovation is huge at HLS and assisted by the energy at the i-lab—and John will build wonderful bridges between theory and practice.”

Williams is a partner in the Boston office of the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit firm that works with mission-driven organizations and philanthropists to scale their impact, enhance their effectiveness, and help strengthen their leadership. Previously, he has been a strategy consultant at Bain & Co., a software marketer, a senior executive at American Express, an early dot-com entrepreneur and CEO of both Web 2.0 and private jet ventures. He received his JD and MBA in 1979 from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

“As a veteran Web entrepreneur and now a senior advisor to mission-driven organizations, I’m delighted to represent Harvard Law School’s and Dean Martha Minow’s strong support for this exciting initiative,” John Williams said.

Williams kicked off his HLS collaboration with the Nov. 10 event, “Interweaving Strategy, Leadership, Web Entrepreneurship and Social Sector Impact,” co-sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Cyberlaw Clinic and HLS’s Office of Career Services, Office of Public Interest Advising and the Dean’s Office. At the event, Williams offered insight on how both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations achieve strategic clarity and maximize their impact on society.

Watch the video of Williams’ talk.

The Expert-in-Residence program will invite entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, lawyers and other experts to the HLS campus and the i-lab in Allston to mentor and advise students from the law school and the broader Harvard community on career and business matters.

Clinical Professor Phil Malone, who directs the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic, said:  “I am thrilled John is joining the HLS i-lab team as our first Entrepreneur in Residence.  His long experience in social and for-profit entrepreneurship will make him a valuable mentor for our students and other users of the i-lab pursuing their own ventures.  As we engage HLS students in the i-lab both as innovators and as providers of legal services to i-lab users through our Cyberlaw and Transactional Law Clinics, John’s expertise will be a tremendous asset.”

In addition to mentoring students, Experts in Residence will also present workshops and other events, share their expertise as speakers in classes taught in the i-lab, and facilitate interactions between students and startups and social entrepreneurs.

The i-lab program will support Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s innovation agenda and utilize a building that once housed WGBH-TV’s studios. It will encourage entrepreneurship and innovation across the University, bringing together many cross-curricular interests pursued at Harvard College, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Law School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the School for Engineering and Applied Science, and the Harvard Kennedy School.

For more information on the i-lab program, please visit: http://i-lab.harvard.edu.