Wisdom, Not Noise: The Law Professor as Policy Influencer
Wake Forest Law Review Online, Vol. 7, 2017
11 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2017 Last revised: 12 Jul 2017
Date Written: January 9, 2017
Few activities can be more rewarding than attempting to improve society. Regardless of the side that you’re on, legal academics can bring knowledge, respect for data and evidence, and logical rigor and debate to a political process that can lack such structure. This article offers some initial thoughts for legal academics considering how they can make free and open inquiry a policymaking norm, and in the process, advocate for what they deem fair and just.
But beyond personal rewards, existing imbalances in our knowledge environment, especially in lobbying and policy advocacy, arguably create a duty for law professors to ensure that underfunded and diffuse public interests have a meaningful say in policy debate. It is among the moral obligations of academics — who have the privilege to be paid to read, think, and write for the sole purpose of advancing human knowledge — to offer clarity with regard to the likely outcomes of policy proposals, and to propose new initiatives. Thus, law professors can play a major part of the bulwark against captured policymaking and/or organized chaos, now and in the future. By applying your skills to the very core of our democracy, you will find that the benefits achieved were worth your time. Your children, your profession, and future generations may thank you — and even if they don’t, you will know that you made contributions at a critical time to the continued preservation and advancement of, and respect for, knowledge and evidence.
Keywords: policy, advocacy, law, professions
JEL Classification: H10, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation