Washington, D.C. (January 9, 2021) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Committee on Sections has selected the AALS Section on Balance in Legal Education and the AALS Section on Associate Deans for Academic Affairs and Research as Sections of the Year.
The annual award recognizes excellence in member support and other activities that promote AALS core values. Such activities include community/pro bono service, expanding membership and member engagement, supporting faculty scholarship, providing mentorship and teaching support, and developing impactful programming.
“This annual award is a wonderful innovation that brings much-needed and appropriate recognition to the work of sections that support their members by forwarding the goals of law teachers to think and work collaboratively in a world so in need of generativity, kindness, and insight.” said Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and chair of the AALS Committee on Sections.
The Section on Balance in Legal Education hosted workshops and call for papers on issues related to well-being, supporting, and promoting members’ scholarly and professional activities, mentoring scholarship, distributing a Section newsletter, and continuing their “oral history” project. Section activities also addressed racial injustice and well-being in the law school community, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic altered the usual way that the community. The section led a 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge, provided a section statement against systemic racism, and created the ad hoc Committee on Conscious Living in the Age of Coronavirus. The section also provided new teaching resources and opportunities for members to connect and cultivate teaching ideas through newsletters, websites, and online discussion lists.
“The Section on Balance in Legal Education is honored to accept this award.” said Jarrod F. Reich, chair of the section and Professor at University of Miami School of Law. “Our Section is humbled by the association’s recognition of the programming, teaching, service, and scholarship of the section and its members. This has been the most challenging year, which has underscored the need for each us of to promote and prioritize our well-being and the well-being of those around us. We are proud of our work this year to promote the sense of balance and justice that the dystopia of 2020 has disrupted in so many ways. And, personally, I am incredibly grateful to and proud of the members of the section, whose commitment to work and scholarship on law student and lawyer well-being inspire me in ways I cannot put into words.”
Over the past five years, the Section on Associate Deans for Academic Affairs and Research developed Annual Meeting programs focused on building and sustaining alliances. The section’s “Wednesday Webinars” were created to provide a forum for members to discuss the many issues they encounter in carrying out their positions. The section’s discussion list included conversations about law school curricula and scheduling, staffing, and academic freedom, as well as interacting with students, staff, and faculty with professionalism and integrity. The section also opened its discussion list to be used as a place where law school administrators can reach out when in need of substitute professors due to the risks and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Section for Associate Deans of Academic Affairs and Research is so honored to receive this award.” said Mary Garvey Algero, chair of the section and Associate Dean at the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. “This year has brought many challenges to law schools around the country, from the urgent need to modify law school programs for online course delivery, to the critical need to appropriately and sensitively address racial and social issues in and out of our law schools. The section has done its best to support fellow associate deans, law school leaders, and faculty through these unprecedented challenges by providing opportunities to discuss the tough issues, invitations to support each other across law schools, and resources developed by section members. Our goal has been to build community across law schools and this award encourages us to continue this work. Thank you again from our executive committee and our hardworking section members.”
AALS sections provide opportunities for law school faculty and staff to connect on issues of shared interest. Each section is focused on a different academic discipline, affinity group, or administrative area. For a full list of sections, visit www.aals.org/sections.
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 176 member and 17 fee-paid law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. 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 many communities—local, national and international.