The Association of American Law Schools is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational association representing 178 schools that enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of its lawyers, federal and state judges, many lawmakers and public interest and private practice attorneys. Founded in 1900 by 32 law schools in an era when it was not unusual to enter the profession without a law degree, the AALS from its beginning has upheld and advanced the scholarship and excellence in teaching that have made U.S. legal education a model for the rest of the world. These 178 public and private law schools educate not only future leaders of the American bar, bench, government, and private sector, but scholars and policymakers for other countries as well.
The AALS also serves as the learned society for the more than 8,000 faculty at its member schools. Its Annual Meeting each January draws more than 3,000 professors and senior administrators and constitutes the largest gathering of law faculty in the world. AALS faculty and deans actively participate in more than ninety volunteer-led Sections that present programs at the meeting, provide mentoring for new faculty, and serve as a year-round resource for discussions on legal issues from antitrust, dispute resolution and taxation to civil rights, criminal justice and international law.
The AALS is legal education’s principal representative to the federal government on the formulation of policies that affect graduate and professional education. It works closely with other national higher education organizations and learned societies on issues of mutual concern. While the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar accredits law schools, the AALS fosters the Association’s core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, diversity of faculty, staff and viewpoints, and devotion to fostering justice and public service at the local, national, and international level.
The AALS provides extensive professional development for law faculty and administrators. In addition to the Annual Meeting, the AALS sponsors mid-year meetings on important topics, an annual conference on Clinical Legal Education, and workshops for new law school faculty, on constitutional law, criminal justice, intellectual property, and securities law to name a few. It also publishes the AALS Directory of Law Teachers with biographical and contact information on thousands of law faculty, librarians and administrators, and holds a Faculty Recruitment Conference each fall, and hosts an online Faculty Appointments Register.