Professors Elected to Leadership of Law and Economics Association

Two Chicago Law professors are now Directors of the American Law and Economics Association (ALEA), joining three of their Law School colleagues already in leadership roles with the field-leading organization.

Lee Fennell, Max Pam Professor of Law and Herbert and Marjorie Fried Research Scholar, and Thomas Miles, Professor of Law and Walter Mander Research Scholar, were elected in May. They join Anup Malani, Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law, and 10 other Directors from leading law schools. Chicago is the only school with the distinction of having multiple Directors serving this year. The Law School is home to the organization’s Vice President, too ­– Douglas Baird, who will be President next year.

The 21-year-old organization works to advance the economic understanding of law and related areas of public policy and regulation. Beyond law professors, the membership includes practicing lawyers and economists. It hosts an annual two-day meeting at a rotating location in which members present research into law and economics. At the first meeting, at the University of Illinois in 1991, Chicago Professor Ronald Coase and Judge Richard A. Posner were honored for helping to found the field of law and economics. The first Vice President was Chicago Law Professor William Landes, and several of his Chicago colleagues have served as leaders in the group since then. Landes, Posner, and Frank Easterbrook are all Chicago Law professors who have served as ALEA President.

The annual conference always has a lot of Chicago representation, said Miles, who has helped the organization choose papers, as has Fennell. Miles' research focuses on empirical studies of the criminal justice system and judicial decision making, while Fennell studies property. They were nominated for their Director posts by those already on the board.

Both professors said they were honored to be elected.

“It’s an honor to provide service to the profession and to the field of law and economics,” Miles said.