Capture and the Proposed AALS Boycott
posted by Dave Hoffman
Paul Caron has a good roundup about the call by an organization of legal writing professors to boycott this year’s AALS meeting. The spectacle is depressing, and is an example of how the AALS becomes distracted by ideology instead of, say, tending to the business of improving law school education. As Leiter put it, four years back:
Complaints about the AALS are legion among law professors: the organization’s relentless political correctness (without regard to the diversity of views among its members), its inability to stage real scholarly conferences, and its intrusive, and again largely politically motivated (when not cartel-motivated!), regulation of law schools. On one important issue where the AALS might have made a difference–namely, the growing influence of the U.S. News law school rankings–the organization’s response was to put its head in the sand and tell prospective students, incredibly, that they shouldn’t look at law school rankings.
There’s probably a useful agency-cost & legal regulation story to be told here about how nonprofits get captured by a small set of their constituents. For what it’s worth, the boycott seems like a bad idea, for the reasons advanced in this post and thread.