The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is a 501(c)(3) 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.
Founded in 1900, 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.
AALS has the dual responsibility of serving law schools and their deans as their institutional membership organization, and individual law school faculty and administrators as their learned society. AALS provides extensive professional development opportunities including the AALS Annual Meeting, the centerpiece of yearly association activities which draws thousands of professors, deans, and administrators. Faculty and deans engage throughout the year via more than 100 sections that present programs, provide mentoring for new faculty, and serve as a resource for discussions on important legal issues from antitrust, dispute resolution, and taxation to civil rights, criminal justice, and international law. Each year, the association also hosts a clinical conference, a faculty recruitment conference, and a workshop for new law teachers. In May 2021, AALS hosted the Conference on Rebuilding Democracy and the Rule of Law with the American Bar Association and Law School Admission Council as co-hosts. The conference brought legal scholars together with current and former high-level government officials to analyze the health of our democracy, discuss who is responsible for protecting it, and consider reforms related to the presidency, the electoral process, race and voting rights, and presidential elections.
AALS serves as a voice on behalf of legal education. The association’s website features the latest news and issues related to legal education and showcases outstanding faculty and innovative programs at AALS member schools. AALS also connects the legal community and public on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
AALS conducts research on topics important to legal education and, in 2018, published two research reports based on a national survey conducted for the association by Gallup to understand student views on law school: Before the JD: Undergraduate Views on Law School and Beyond the Bachelor’s: Undergraduate Perspectives on Graduate and Professional Degrees. Current research projects are focused both on legal education and on law school leadership, including the Study of the American Law School Dean.
AALS is a member of the American Council on Education, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Consortium of Social Science Associations, the National Humanities Alliance, and the Washington Higher Education Secretariat.
Learn more on our legal education at a glance data summary (PDF).