Association of American Law Schools

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Association of American Law Schools
Formation 1900
Type Learned society
Headquarters Washington, DC
Blake Morant (since January 2015)
Key people
Judith Areen, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer; Kellye Y. Testy, University of Washington, President-Elect; Daniel B. Rodriguez, Northwestern University, Immediate Past President
Website [1]

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), formed in 1900, is a non-profit organization of 180 law schools in the United States.[1] These member schools enroll and graduate most of the nation's lawyers.[2] The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve its local, national and international communities.[3] AALS incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in 1971. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C.


The plenary legislative body of AALS is the House of Representatives, composed of one representative from each member school, selected by faculty from that school. A 10-member Executive Committee leads AALS. It is composed of the President, Immediate Past President and President-Elect, six other elected members and, ex officio, the AALS Executive Director. The Executive Committee has the responsibility for conducting the association’s affairs in the interim between the annual meetings of the House of Representatives, which elects the officers and other Executive Committee members.

AALS Annual Meeting[edit]

The AALS Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of law faculty in the world. Law teachers, librarians, and administrators from law schools of other nations attend the four-day gathering each year. Since the 1970s, the conference has taken place in early January, rotating its location among several large U.S. cities including New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Programs at the conference explore professional development topics, legal issues, and administrative concerns. Legal educators use the conference to connect with their colleagues from other law schools and countries around matters of common interest.

Other AALS Conferences[edit]

AALS hosts a number of events throughout the year.[4] The annual AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education has become a main¬stay of the association’s activities with the 2015 conference having almost 700 clinicians in attendance.[5] The conference's sessions focus on practice areas and common areas of concern for clinicians.

Every summer, AALS offers the New Law School Teachers Conference and the Workshop for Pretenured People of Color Law School Teachers in Washington, D.C. These meetings provide professional development and networking opportunities to law faculty in their first few years of teaching, including clinical and legal writing teachers.

AALS periodically holds other meetings focused on professional development concerns. Recent topics have included torts, environmental law, constitutional law, intellectual property, family law, and business law.[6]

Faculty Recruitment Services[edit]

Each year, AALS compiles the Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) from information submitted by candidates for entry-level, tenure-track law teaching jobs. Law school hiring teams review this information and invite candidates to screening interviews at the Faculty Recruitment Conference held each fall in Washington, D.C. Successful candidates are then invited to interview at the schools interested in hiring them.[7]

AALS also publishes the Placement Bulletin which lists available faculty and administrative positions, as well as positions related to legal education outside of law schools. It is published four times during the academic year. Individuals who are registered for the FAR may access the Placement Bulletin online; others can order the publication separately.[8]

Other Activities and Publications[edit]

AALS disseminates news and information about law schools’ innovations and acts as a voice for legal education to prospective law students, faculty, the media, and the public.[9] The association leadership is frequently called on to articulate issues in legal education, from the value of a law degree to what law schools are doing to support diversity.[10] [11] AALS engages with the media and the public on the latest changes and challenges facing the law academy and how law schools are responding.

The association's YouTube channel hosts content from member schools, select AALS Annual Meeting sessions, and other videos related to legal education.[12] Additionally, AALS maintains Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn social media accounts. Since 2014, AALS has hosted a press conference at its annual meetings.

AALS publishes the AALS Directory of Law Teachers, the “desk book” of deans and law teachers. The directory lists by school the full-time faculty and professional staff of all AALS member and fee-paid law schools, and contains biographical sketches of 10,000 full-time teachers.

The Journal of Legal Education, published by AALS since 1948, addresses issues confronting legal educators, including curriculum development, teaching methods, and scholarship. It serves as an outlet for emerging areas of scholarship and teaching. Currently, the journal is co-published by Northeastern University School of Law and University of Washington School of Law, with the schools providing editorial leadership and administrative support.

AALS jointly sponsors the Clinical Law Review, a semi-annual, peer-edited journal devoted to issues of lawyering theory and clinical legal education. The Review is edited, administered, and financially supported by New York University School of Law and jointly sponsored by the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA).

Four times a year, AALS publishes AALS News, a newsletter that keeps readers abreast of AALS activities and topics of interest to the legal academy.

Involvement in the Solomon Amendment[edit]

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.

The United States Armed Forces "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy was seen by the AALS as impermissible discrimination. However, the AALS 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.[13] 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.[14]

The AALS 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 coincidence, 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.[15]


  1. ^ “Member Schools.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  2. ^ “History.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  3. ^ “Membership and Core Values.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  4. ^ “Professional Development.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  5. ^ Memorandum, AALS Activities Report, May 15, 2015.
  6. ^ “Professional Development.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  7. ^ Chafee, Eric C. “From Law Practice to the Legal Academy: How to Make the Leap.” The Young Lawyer (December 2011, Vol. 16, No.3)
  8. ^ “Faculty Recruitment Services.” AALS Website Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  9. ^ “Communicating the Value of Legal Education” The AALS News, August 2015. http:/
  10. ^ Statement on the Value of Legal Education. AALS. (
  11. ^ "Law Schools Evolve to Meet Social, Economic Changes." Diverse: Issues in Legal Education, January 2, 2014.
  12. ^ AALS YouTube page,
  13. ^ On-Campus Military Recruiting – Balancing AALS Rules, Other Nondiscrimination Policies and the Solomon II Amendment, December 15, 1998,
  14. ^ AALS Section on Gay and Lesbian Legal Issues, September 15, 1998,
  15. ^ DADT Repeal and On-Campus Military Recruiters, PrawfsBlawg, December 24, 2010,

External links[edit]