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March 31, 2008


Former Dean of University of California-Los Angeles School of Law to Lead Organization As It Enters Its 109 th Year As the Representative of America’s Law Schools

Former UCLA Law School Dean Susan Westerberg Prager has been named Executive Director and CEO of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the nation’s principal representative of America’s law schools and the scholarly society of the law teaching profession. Her appointment, effective September 1, 2008, was announced by AALS President John Garvey following a unanimous vote of the AALS Executive Committee. Garvey is Dean of the Boston College Law School.

Prager will become the sixth Executive Director of the AALS since its founding in 1900. The AALS created the Executive Director role in 1963. Prager will succeed Carl Monk, who last year announced plans to resign after sixteen years as AALS Executive Director.

“I am delighted that Susan has agreed to commit her extraordinary talents to directing the Association,” Garvey said. “She has an unparalleled understanding of legal education from 16 years’ service as dean at UCLA. She has served the Association as its President and as a member of the Executive Committee, and knows its potential as well as anyone. She is also a woman of keen intellect, great judgment, and wonderful personal skills. I must add that Carl Monk’s service for 16 years has helped build the Association into the kind of organization that deserves a leader of such high quality.”

Prager noted that she was “attracted to the Executive Director role by the vibrancy of the AALS and its programs, by the opportunity to work with dedicated faculty from many law schools, and by the opportunity to help the AALS advance its core values, which include encouraging research and scholarship about law and legal institutions, furthering excellent teaching, striving for a diverse faculty, student body and profession, encouraging public service in the legal profession, and fostering justice. The AALS has an important role to play in the shape and content of national higher education policy,” Prager said.

Prager added that she is “honored to have been recruited to this role at a time when U.S. law schools are working to ensure the vitality of democratic values like fundamental fairness in an increasingly integrated global economy. The search for justice is central to the law teaching profession, and I am eager to work with the faculty and deans of AALS member schools to ensure that the Association’s standards and its professional development programs for law teachers are responsive to rapidly developing national and global events. I’m also eager to encourage the next generations of law professors to contribute to the work of the Association, which depends in critical ways on volunteer efforts from the faculty and administration of member schools.”

AALS Executive Director Carl Monk said, “The AALS is very fortunate to have recruited someone with Susan Prager’s background and expertise to serve as Executive Director. I have known Susan for more than twenty years; she is a seasoned higher education administrator with superb judgment and commitment. She will be a strong, clear voice for the nation’s law schools, and will move the AALS to an even stronger, more influential role in assisting the nation’s law schools in educating the next generations of lawyers.”

Prager credited Monk with leading the effort to significantly expand and improve the Association’s professional development programs for law teachers, and for devoting himself to furthering collaboration with the law teaching profession all over the world by his painstaking work to develop the new International Association of Law Schools.

The search for Monk's successor was chaired by former Georgetown Law School Dean, Judith Areen, Paul Regis Dean Professor of Law at Georgetown and 2006 President of the AALS. Areen said: "We are delighted that Susan Prager will be the next Executive Director of the AALS. Susan is a respected and effective leader in legal education whose energy, wisdom and ability to build consensus make her exactly the right person to guide the AALS. This is a great moment for the AALS and for all of legal education."

Professor Prager is a graduate of Stanford University and the UCLA School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the UCLA Law Review. She joined the UCLA faculty in 1972, became Dean a decade later, and served as dean from 1982-1998 – the longest tenure of any dean in UCLA law school history. At the time Prager became Dean she was one of two female law Deans in the country. Prager was a trustee of Stanford University for 14 years. She chaired the board’s Academic Policy Committee and was a Vice President of the Board. She left UCLA in 1999 to become Provost at Dartmouth College, and recently was President of Occidental College in Los Angeles. Prager is a longtime Director of the Pacific Mutual Holding Company, which owns Pacific Life Insurance Company. Over the years she has been engaged in the national legal education community in a wide variety of ways, serving as AALS President in 1986. She is Professor of History at Occidental College and the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Professor of Law Emeritus at UCLA. Her research has focused on marital property law, and on California legal history.