|What is the AALS? Purpose and Description
The AALS is a non-profit association of 176 law schools. The purpose of the association is "the improvement of the legal profession through legal education." It serves as the learned society for law teachers and is legal education's principal representative to the federal government and to other national higher education organizations and learned societies.
The AALS holds an Annual Meeting every year in January and five or six workshops and conferences throughout the year. The AALS publishes a Directory of Law Teachers and a quarterly newsletter, as well as other publications. Much of the learned society activities are done by the 94 AALS Sections, which plan programs at the Annual Meetings and publish newsletters throughout the year.
The AALS was founded in 1900 with thirty-two charter members. Professor James Bradley Thayer, Harvard Law School, was its first president. Professor Michael H. Cardozo of Cornell University Law School became the Association's first Executive Director in 1963 and established the Association's national office. From a full-time staff of two in 1963 (including the Executive Director), the AALS full-time staff has grown to approximately 20, including the Executive Director, Associate Director, Managing Director and Assistant Director. The staff is based at the national office in Washington, D.C.
Schools are eligible to apply for membership after it has offered five years of instruction and has graduated its third class. A four or five person team visits the applicant school to determine its compliance with the Association's Bylaws and Executive Committee Regulations. Admission is by vote of the AALS House of Representatives acting on the recommendation of the Executive Committee.
The plenary legislative body is the House of Representatives, composed of one representative from each member school. The faculty of each member school selects the individual who is to represent the school in the House. The House ordinarily meets during the Association's Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee, elected by the House, has the responsibility for conducting the affairs of the Association in the interim between the annual meetings of the House of Representatives.
From a full-time staff of two in 1963 (including the Executive Director), the AALS full-time staff has grown to approximately 20, including the Executive Director, Associate Director, Managing Director and Assistant Director. The staff is based at the national office in Washington, D.C. See the staff page for names and e-mail addresses of AALS staff members.
Committees, Sections and Other Divisions
Standing and special committees, established by action of the Executive Committee and appointed by the President, provide reports and policy advice to the Association. There are 94 sections, composed of members of the faculty and administration of member schools. These sections present a variety of programs at the Annual Meeting, provide newsletters for their membership and conduct other activities of interest to their members.