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AALS Handbook | Statements of Good Practices

Statement of Good Practices for the Recruitment of and Resignation by Full-Time Faculty Members
The Association of American Law Schools recognizes that the mobility of law teachers among law schools and other professional positions is both inevitable and desirable. Yet the departure of a full-time law teacher always requires changes at the law school. Unless the school is given sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements to find another teacher to offer the instruction given by the departing teacher, the reasonable expectations of students will be frustrated and the school’s educational program otherwise disrupted. To serve the best interests of the program of legal education from which the teacher is departing and that to which she or he may be going, the Association urges that law schools and law faculty members follow these suggested practices.

It is recognized that the basic principles announced in the Statement on Recruitment and Resignation of Faculty Members, issued in 1961 by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges, remain sound. However, the present environment in legal education, and to a large extent that throughout colleges and universities, requires a substantially greater lead time in making faculty appointments and other administrative decisions. These specific statements are, therefore, no longer useful guides to present action by deans, appointment committees, and faculty who wish to proceed appropriately in recruiting law teachers from the full-time faculty of other law schools or who wish to resign to accept positions elsewhere or request a leave of absence. This statement of good practices is designed to address the current condition in legal education and to provide those who wish to proceed responsibly a guide to appropriate conduct.

Faculty Appointments Within the Statement. This statement applies to the recruitment of the full-time law teacher who is in active service at or on leave from a law school and is not on terminal appointment and applies whether the appointment offered is with or without tenure or to a position not eligible for tenure and whether the faculty member has tenure.

Importance of Early Recruitment. Negotiations looking toward the appointment for the following academic year of a person who is a full-time member of the faculty of another law school should be begun and completed as early as practicable in the academic year.

Offer of Appointment. To permit a full-time faculty member to give due consideration to an offer and timely notice of resignation or request for leave of absence to his or her law school, a law school should make an offer of an indefinite appointment as a teacher during the following academic year no later than March 1 and of a visiting appointment no later than March 15.

Resignation or Request for Leave of Absence. A full-time faculty member should not resign to accept an indefinite appointment as a teacher at another law school during the next academic year later than March 15 nor request leave of absence to accept a visiting appointment as a teacher later than April 1. A law school should not offer an indefinite appointment or visiting position that contemplates that the faculty member resign or request leave of absence at a later date.

Consent of the Dean of the Law School. Even if the dean of the law school on whose faculty the person serves has acquiesced, a law school should not make an offer of an appointment as a teacher to a full-time member of the faculty of a law school more than two months later than the dates stated above and the faculty member should not resign or request leave of absence two months later than the dates stated above.

Recruitment of the Dean or Director of the Library. An offer of appointment for the following academic year as dean should be made to a full-time law teacher or dean as early as practicable in the academic year. As the impact on a school’s program is significantly different in having to defer the appointment of a dean a year from that of having to defer appointment of a full-time teacher, the appointment of a dean may appropriately follow a later schedule than that suggested for the appointment of a full-time faculty member. All affected parties should, however, cooperate in making these appointments to the end that the interests of legal education at both law schools are served. This standard also applies to the director of the law school library.

Adopted by the Executive Committee,
August 12, 1979

November 16, 1984

May 15, 1986