For most law professors, their relevance to "real world" issues is limited. Sure, there are the famous or ambitious profs who testify in front of Congress or take leaves of absence to do brief stints in government, and there are those ranks of professors who are simultaneously judge and law professor (Guido, Posner, Ralph Winter), but for the rank and file, participating in amicus briefs or doing consulting is usually the peak of our influence.
Until Obama. The Times this afternoon has a fascinating study of Obama as law professor (he was a lecturer at Chicago for twelve years), with various other law professors analyzing his performance there to glean insights into his potential worthiness for President. They even interviewed former students who are now law professors. Truly, it's about as close to law professor nirvana -- teaching skills! collegiality! disdain for footnotes! -- as presidential analysis can get.
Law Profs Honor Roll (i.e., mentioned or interviewed in article, in order of appearance):
Dennis Hutchinson (Chicago)
Richard Epstein (Chicago)
Abner Mikva (formerly of Chicago)
Douglas Baird (Chicago)
Michael McConnell (formerly Chicago, now Utah)
Richard Pildes (NYU)
Salil Mehra (Temple)
Daniel Sokol (Florida)
David Franklin (De Paul)
Dan Kahan (Yale)
Cass Sunstein (Chicago, Harvard)
Daniel Fischel (Chicago)
It's a law prof extravaganza!
(updated to change Mitch McConnell to Michael McConnell--oops!)