Douglas Baird Elected President of American Law and Economics Association

Douglas Baird, Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor of Law, is the new president of the American Law and Economics Association (ALEA), the preeminent professional association dedicated to the field of law and economics.

Baird was elected at ALEA’s annual meeting in May, held in Nashville. Professors Eric Posner and Ed Morrison were elected to the Board of Directors, where they join three other Chicago Law professors: Lee Fennell, Anup Malani, and Thomas Miles, who were elected in previous years. That means six of the 15 leadership positions of ALEA are filled by Chicago Law faculty members.

Baird is the fourth ALEA president to come from the Law School; he was preceded by William Landes, Richard Posner, and Frank Easterbrook. In the last two years, Baird has served as Vice President and Secretary Treasurer. He’s belonged to the organization for about 20 years.

“Professor Baird has been a leading figure in law and economics for more than three decades,” Eric Posner said. “He is particularly noted for his foundational scholarship on the economic analysis of bankruptcy law. He is an ideal choice for ALEA president.”

Baird’s primary presidential duty will be organizing the next annual meeting, scheduled for May 2014 at the University’s Gleacher Center downtown. The event will bring together several hundred law professors and economists, and 150 papers will be presented in just two days. The Ronald H. Coase Medal, in recognition of major contributions to the field, will be presented for just the third time. The award itself has strong ties to the Law School; Coase, of course, is a Professor Emeritus, and the inaugural recipient, in 2010, was Richard Posner.

Baird said he’s proud to be the new leader of “the premiere organization for law and economics.” His goal for his one-year tenure is simple, he said. “I want to make sure I leave it a better organization than I found it.”