american flag and constitution.

Mitchell Lecture Series

To Be Represented: How they fail us, and how we do too

 - Postponed until Fall 2020 - 

America was to be a Republic — meaning, a “representative democracy.” But over the life of this republic, we have allowed the institutions of our democracy to become essentially unrepresentative. And not just the institutions, but maybe, more importantly, us. In this fundamentally non-partisan talk, Lessig describes the ways in which we might restore representativeness to our representative democracy — including the representativeness of us.

For more information, contact the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy at or 716-645-2102.

Lawrence Lessig.

Lawrence Lessig
Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School

Lessig is the founder of Equal Citizens and a founding board member of Creative Commons, and serves on the Scientific Board of AXA Research Fund. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, he has received numerous awards including a Webby, the Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, Scientific American 50 Award, and Fastcase 50 Award.

Cited by The New Yorker as “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era,” Lessig has focused much of his career on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. His current work addresses “institutional corruption”—relationships which, while legal, weaken public trust in an institution—especially as that affects democracy.

Currently the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, he previously taught at Stanford Law School, where he founded the Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

The Mitchell Lecture Series was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell, in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the Buffalo Law School, Mitchell later served as chairman of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university.

Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled "Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law." The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.

These have included C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Irene Zubaida Khan, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine MacKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, John Payton, Richard Posner, Hon. James Robertson and Clyde Summers among others.