Urs Gasser joins Berkman Center as new executive director

Urs Gasser LL.M. '03

Urs Gasser LL.M. ’03

Urs Gasser LL.M. ’03, an associate professor of law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, has been named executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He will succeed John Palfrey, who was appointed vice dean, library and information resources, at Harvard Law School, last year.

“We are thrilled with Urs’ arrival and confident that his vision and dedication ensure that Berkman’s research agenda and platform will continue to thrive and evolve,” said Palfrey, who remains a Berkman faculty co-director. “Beyond his many scholarly achievements, Urs’ combination of familiar and fresh perspectives gives him the ideal blend to both comprehend what we do now, and to develop insights into where we go next as a University-wide research center.”

Gasser focuses his research and teaching on information law and policy and the interaction between law and innovation.

He has published six books as an author or editor and has written over 60 articles in anthologies, law reviews, and professional journals. He wrote “Kausalität und Zurechnung von Information als Rechtsproblem,” an award-winning book on the responsibility for information as a legal problem, and co-wrote, with John Palfrey, “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives” (Basic Books, 2008).

As a research fellow at Berkman from 2002 to 2004, Gasser worked primarily on the Digital Media Project. He also launched the Harvard-Yale-Cyberscholar Working Group and co-taught Berkman’s Internet & Society course at the Harvard Extension School with Palfrey.

He returned to the University of St. Gallen, where he was appointed as Swiss National Science Foundation Professor. He also launched and served as faculty director of the university’s Research Center for Information Law.

In 2005, Gasser was named a faculty fellow at Berkman, where he worked on topics ranging from digital institutions to interoperability to youth and technology, including the creation of the annual “Learning a Foreign Language” seminar.

He frequently acts as a commentator on comparative law issues for the US and European media and he is an adviser to international technology companies on information law matters.

In addition to his LL.M. from Harvard, Gasser earned a J.D. in 1997 and an S.J.D. in 2001 from the University of St. Gallen. He has received several awards for his academic work, including Harvard’s Landon H. Gammon Fellowship for academic excellence and the “Walther Hug-Preis Schweiz”, a Swiss prize for the best doctoral thesis in law nationwide.