Looking Back at 2019-20, The Cyberlaw Clinic’s 20th Anniversary Year
When the Cyberlaw Clinic was founded at Harvard Law School during the 1999-2000 academic year, the law was evolving to accommodate rapidly-developing technologies that facilitated communication and interaction with content online. While large commercial entities could afford to pay for high-quality legal services in the emerging area of cyberlaw, the same wasn’t true for many individuals, scholars, non-profits, mission-driven start-ups, and advocacy organizations.
Berkman Klein Center founders Jonathan Zittrain and Charlie Nesson created the Cyberlaw Clinic to fill the need for clinical legal services among those grappling with the transformative impacts of the expansion of the internet, to ensure that the public interest was represented in key policy debates that would shape the development of the world wide web, and to offer law students the opportunity to build the substantive knowledge and skills necessary for high-tech practice. Against that backdrop, the Center launched the Clinic in 1999 with a handful of students working alongside Harvard Law School faculty on legal questions relevant to the internet. A formal program began the following year.