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Villanova University Appoints Brett Frischmann, JD, as the Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics

The addition of Professor Frischmann, a renowned expert in intellectual property and internet law, furthers the Law School’s strategic programming at the intersection of law and business



Villanova, Pa. – Villanova University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, today announced the appointment of Brett Frischmann, JD, as the Charles Widger Endowed University Professor in Law, Business and Economics, effective August 1. Among Villanova’s highest academic honors, the University Professor recognizes distinguished faculty whose extraordinary scholarly achievement and accomplishment spans disciplines and crosses traditional college boundaries. This interdisciplinary position, based in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, was conceived and endowed as part of a $25 million leadership gift from Charles Widger ’73 JD.

In this new role, Professor Frischmann will promote cross-campus research, programming and collaboration; foster high-visibility academic pursuits at the national and international levels; have the ability to teach across the University; and position Villanova as a thought leader and innovator at the intersection of law, business and economics. This includes collaboration with the Law School’s John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship and the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance.

“With the appointment of Brett Frischmann, Villanova University gains a leading academic whose scholarship and expertise span the legal, STEM and business fields,” said Provost Maggitti. “Professor Frischmann will bring new perspectives to the Law School and the entire campus, further connecting the academic endeavors of our six colleges through his interdisciplinary work, scholarly achievement and cross-University collaboration.”

A renowned scholar in intellectual property and internet law, Professor Frischmann comes to Villanova from Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University, where he was director of the Cardozo Intellectual Property and Information Law Program and a professor of Law. He is an affiliated scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and a trustee for the Nexa Center for Internet & Society at Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Professor Frischmann most recently served as the Microsoft Visiting Professor of Information and Technology Policy at Princeton University’s Center for Information and Technology Policy.

“In today’s world, law, business, economics and technology do not exist as separate fields of study, but as vital, interconnected systems. As the inaugural Charles Widger Endowed University Professor, I look forward to collaborating with fellow researchers across Villanova’s campus and to furthering discipline-bridging work through scholarship, teaching and service,” said Professor Frischmann. “I am honored by this appointment, and I am excited to join a university and law school so committed to critical interdisciplinary research and scholarship.”

Professor Frischmann’s work has appeared in leading scholarly publications, including Columbia Law ReviewCornell Law ReviewJournal of Institutional Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, University of Chicago Law Review and Review of Law and Economics, among others. His forthcoming book, co-authored with philosopher Evan Selinger, Being Human in the 21st Century: How Social and Technological Tools are Reshaping Humanity (Cambridge University Press), will examine techno-social engineering of humans, various “creep” phenomena and modern techno-driven Taylorism. Professor Frischmann’s books on the relationships between infrastructural resources, governance, commons and spillovers include Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford University Press, 2012); Governing Knowledge Commons (Oxford University Press, 2014, with Michael Madison and Katherine Strandburg); and Governing Medical Knowledge Commons (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017, with Michael Madison and Katherine Strandburg). Professor Frischmann holds a BA in Astrophysics from Columbia University, an MS in Earth Resources Engineering from Columbia University and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.

In addition to fulfilling the University’s goal of enhancing interdisciplinary academic programming, the appointment of Professor Frischmann further supports the Law School’s position as a thought leader in law, business and economics and as a center for innovative legal education. As part of its strategic plan, the Law School introduced an enhanced curriculum that provides graduates with the academic, practical and professional skills necessary for success in 21st-century legal practice. Central to this outcomes-focused approach is an academic program that infuses business coursework, professional development skills and real-world learning opportunities into Villanova’s rigorous legal education.

“Professor Frischmann is uniquely qualified to help lead Villanova Law forward with its ‘Where Law Meets Business’ philosophy,” said Mark C. Alexander, JD, Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. “He is a renowned scholar whose cutting-edge research intersects with an impressive range of disciplines, including law, business, intellectual property, technology and economics. I am so pleased to welcome Brett to the Law School faculty.”

Professor Frischmann’s appointment is the third recent faculty addition in support of the Law School’s strategic vision to prepare graduates for success in today’s interconnected, business-focused world. Andrew Lund, JD, whose scholarship focuses on executive compensation, joined Villanova in August 2016 as professor of Law and director of the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship. Josephine Sandler Nelson, JD, assumes the newly created role of associate professor of Law (Business Ethics) in July 2017. She teaches and writes on issues related to business law, ethics and white-collar crime. These appointments add noted teacher-scholars to the law faculty and deepen the Law School’s academic offerings at the intersection of law and business.

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About Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law: Founded in 1953, the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law provides broad-based legal education that is grounded in academic rigor, practical hands-on training and a foundation in business that prepares graduates for diverse and rewarding legal careers. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, offers six in-house clinics and more than 150 externship opportunities that immerse students in the real-world application of their legal skills. Villanova is home to Centers of Excellence—the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy; the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance, the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship; and the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law—which provide students the opportunity to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary legal fields through study, practical experience and mentorship.


About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit