Association of American Law Schools

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The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is a non-profit organization of 178 law schools in the United States. Another 21 schools are "non-member fee paid" schools, which are not members but choose to pay AALS dues. Its purpose is to improve the legal profession through the improvement of legal education. It also represents the interests of law schools towards the U.S. federal government and other national associations of institutes of higher education. It was formed in 1900.

The AALS requires its members to follow a nondiscrimination policy regarding "race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation," and for member law schools to require this of any employer to which it gives access for recruitment. Some schools with particularly strong religious objections to homosexuality choose not to become AALS members for this reason.

The United States Armed Forces "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy was seen by the AALS as impermissible discrimination. However, the AALS has excused its members from blocking access to the military since the passage of the Solomon Amendments, which denies federal funding to the parent university of a law school as well as the school itself if military recruiters are not given full campus access. However, the AALS requires schools to take "ameliorative" measures when allowing military recruiters on campus, including placing "warning" signs on campus when military recruiting takes place, scheduling interviews off campus away from "core" areas, "prohibit[ing] entirely the delivery of discretionary support services" to military recruiters, charging military employers who use law school resources "reasonable fees for use of law school staff, facilities and services," etc.[1] The AALS has encouraged law schools to deny benefits to military recruiters that they would ordinarily provide employers, such as coffee and free parking. Specifically, the AALS wrote in a memo to all law school deans in the United States:

The main point of this Report therefore is that reasonable access does not dictate equal access. Though schools should conduct themselves professionally regarding the military on this issue, the language of the law does not obligate schools to do anything else beyond providing reasonable access; within the bounds of professional conduct, reasonable access does not in the Section's view imply that schools are obligated to provide other free services or amenities (such as, perhaps, scheduling appointment times, collecting and transmitting resumes, free parking, endless supplies of coffee, snacks or lunches and the like). Beyond providing the "reasonable access" mentioned in the law, schools should avoid entanglement with military on-campus activities and devote their energies and resources to maximizing amelioration.[2]

The AALS has engaged in litigation challenging the Solomon Amendments as violative of the First Amendment (see e.g., Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc.). In an interesting conicidence, The Judge Advocate General's School of the United States Army is a fee-paying nonmember of AALS.

Although DADT has been ended, and although President Barack Obama called upon college campuses to welcome military recruiters during his State of the Union Speech (1/25/11), some law professors have questioned why the AALS has issued no statement declaring an end to its recommendations.[3]

The Association holds an annual conference, rotating its location among several large U.S. cities, among them San Francisco, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Its January 2006 conference was originally scheduled to be held in New Orleans, but in the intervening months the devastation of Hurricane Katrina forced AALS to relocate the conference to Washington, D.C.

AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference[edit]

About half of the faculty hired by law schools in the United States result from interviews conducted at the annual AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ On-Campus Military Recruiting – Balancing AALS Rules, Other Nondiscrimination Policies and the Solomon II Amendment, December 15, 1998, http://home.pacbell.net/pkykwan/AALS/documents/Dec15Supp.htm
  2. ^ AALS Section on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues, September 15, 1998, http://home.pacbell.net/pkykwan/AALS/documents/Sept15Report.htm
  3. ^ DADT Repeal and On-Campus Military Recruiters, PrawfsBlawg, December 24, 2010, http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2010/12/dadt-repeal-and-on-campus-military-recruiters.html
  4. ^ David Segal (November 19, 2011). "What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering Published:". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2011. "About half of all law school hiring begins at the Faculty Recruitment Conference, widely known as the meat market, held by the Association of American Law Schools. It is conducted every year at the Marriott in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington." 
  5. ^ "Faculty Recruitment Services". American Association of Law Schools. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 

External links[edit]