The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association of 176 member and 18 fee-paid law schools. Its member schools 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 as an institutional membership organization, and individual law school faculty as their learned society. AALS offers a hybrid mix of in-person and virtual professional development opportunities. The AALS Annual Meeting, the centerpiece of yearly association activities, draws thousands of professors, deans, and administrators in early January. An Opening Plenary and Presidential Programs are among the highlights. Recent additions to the Annual Meeting include Discussion Groups of invited faculty on selected topics and Arc of Career programs addressing the professional careers of law faculty and administrators. To encourage and recognize excellent legal scholarship by new law teachers, AALS issues a call for scholarly papers by full-time faculty who have taught for five years or less. A committee of legal scholars selects for special recognition those authors whose papers have made the most substantial contribution to legal literature. Other legal education organizations also hold meetings or programs in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, and law schools hold receptions for graduates and friends. It is an outstanding opportunity for legal educators to connect with colleagues from other law schools and countries around matters of common interest.

Each year, the Association also hosts in-person a clinical conference, a workshop for new law teachers, and a forum for law school deans. Over the past year AALS provided virtual webinars on How to Become a Law Professor, on Democracy, on Affirmative Action, for adjuncts/lecturers, for appointment committees, and for faculty candidates.

Faculty and deans also engage throughout the year via the 106 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.

AALS serves as a voice on behalf of legal education. Its website features the latest news and issues related to legal education and showcases outstanding faculty and innovative programs at law schools. In 2022, the Association launched an ongoing member school highlight series on its website that features a different law school and program at each institution.  AALS also connects with the legal education community and public on social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Threads, and YouTube.

AALS conducts research on topics important to legal education. In 2018, AALS 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. In 2022 the Association’s Study on the American Law School Dean was released.

AALS is the only nonprofit association that is a member of both the American Council on Education and the American Council of Learned Societies, reflecting its dual mission.  AALS also belongs to 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.