AALS Handbook: Executive Committee Regulations
Executive Committee Regulations of the Association of American Law Schools
Amended through May 2018
CHAPTER 1. SECTIONS
1.1 Sections: Purpose.
The purpose of Sections of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is to enable the AALS to serve as the learned society for legal educators and law school professional staff. Sections are encouraged to advance AALS’s core values by presenting programs at the AALS Annual Meeting and engaging their members through other activities including online listservs and announcements, periodic newsletters, mentoring programs for junior faculty, and calls for papers.
1.2 Requirements for Sections.
a. A Section should sponsor a program session during at least every other Annual Meeting. The Section program should be held at the time and location assigned by the Executive Director.
b. A Section should elect its officers and the members of its executive committee annually. A Section may elect its officers and the members of its committee at the Annual Meeting or, provided that timely notice is given of the nominees, by electronic means. AALS may dissolve a Section if it fails to elect officers and members of its executive committee annually.
c. No person may serve as Chair of the same Section for more than two consecutive years. No person may serve as Chair of more than one Section concurrently.
d. A Section may hold a lecture, regional seminar, or other event outside the Annual Meeting with the prior approval of the Executive Director. The Executive Director may approve an event if, in consultation with the President, he or she determines that it is consistent with AALS’s core values.
1.3 Review by the Committee on Sections.
a. The Committee on Sections should periodically review Sections to enhance the intellectual depth, quality, and diversity of their programs and speakers, as well as their activities outside of the Annual Meeting. If the Committee on Sections finds, after affording the officers a reasonable opportunity to respond to the inquiry, that a Section is inactive, materially duplicates the activities of other Sections, or has materially violated AALS’s core values, Bylaws or these Regulations, the Committee should recommend that the Executive Committee dissolve the Section, merge it with another Section, replace the Section’s officers with other individuals designated by the President, or take other appropriate action.
b. A Section’s officers may voluntarily petition the Executive Committee to dissolve the Section. When a Section fails to retain at least 20 members from at least eight member schools, the Section officers should take steps to increase Section membership or recommend dissolution to the Executive Committee.
1.4 Section Membership.
a. Regular Membership. All faculty and professional staff of member law schools are eligible for regular membership in a Section. Sections that concern international issues or comparative law may include as regular members faculty and professional staff at law schools that participate as AALS International Subscribers.
b. Associate Membership. Subject to restrictions set by a Section in its bylaws, any person may join a Section as an associate member. An associate member is not eligible to vote in Section meetings, to hold office in a Section, or to serve on a Section’s executive committee. Associate members who are not affiliated with a member or a non-member fee-paid school may be required to pay an annual membership fee in an amount established by the Executive Committee. Faculty and professional staff affiliated with fee-paid schools may join a Section without paying the annual membership fee.
c. A Section may recommend additional limits on membership so long as those limits are consistent with the AALS’s core values, Bylaws, these Regulations, and any other AALS policies. Additional limits on Section membership must be approved in advance by the Executive Committee.
d. Individuals who meet a Section’s membership requirements may join a Section by communicating their interest to AALS’s staff member designated for handling these requests.
e. For purposes of this chapter, “faculty and professional staff of member law schools” excludes adjunct faculty, visiting faculty or temporary professional staff who do not have a continuing professional relationship with a member law school as their principal employment.
1.5 Relationship of Sections to the AALS and Public.
a. The AALS recognizes three types of Sections: Academic Sections, Affinity Group Sections, and Administrative Sections. A current listing of Sections, by type, is located in the AALS Handbook and on the AALS website.
b. A Section may take a position on a matter related either to the subject matter of the Section or concerning legal education when the Section’s executive committee, after giving Section members an adequate opportunity to review and submit comments on a proposed position, reasonably believes that the position reflects the views of a majority of the Section’s membership.
c. Academic and Affinity Group Sections may communicate a position taken in accordance with Chapter 1.5(b) to others within and outside AALS with a disclaimer that states that the position is that of the Section only and not necessarily of AALS. The disclaimer should use the following or similar language: “The following is a statement of the ____Section of the Association of American Law Schools only. It does not necessarily represent the position of the Association.” With the same disclaimer, Administrative Sections may communicate a position taken in accordance with Chapter 1.5(b) to members of the Section and deans and faculty of member and ABA-approved schools. An Administrative Section may not otherwise publish a statement. In no event may a Section communicate, publish, or otherwise disseminate a position that is inconsistent with the core values of AALS as stated in the Bylaws. Nor may a Section communicate the Section’s views concerning a school’s compliance with the rules of membership of AALS or concerning the quality of characteristics of the School’s educational program or institutional policies. If a Section has reason to think a position it has adopted might violate the core values of the Association, it should submit the position to the Executive Director for evaluation before it is communicated outside the Section. A Section may submit to the Executive Committee a recommendation that AALS take a stated position.
d. Any applications for grants, sponsorships, or other funding from external sources should be made only in AALS’s name. No Section may itself make any application for, or receive funding from, an external source. After receiving the Executive Directors’ approval, a Section may make preliminary contact with an external funding source. After the Section makes approved preliminary contact, it may ask the Executive Committee to apply for a grant, sponsorship or funding from an external source in AALS’s name.
e. Newsletters, websites, and similar Section communications must bear a legend in the following or similar language: “This newsletter/website is a forum for the exchange of points of view. Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Section and do not necessarily represent the position of the Association of American Law Schools.”
f. A Section may not file amicus curiae briefs.
g. Any survey or questionnaire that a Section wants to distribute to groups or individuals other than Section members must be approved in advance by the Executive Director who shall act in consultation with the President.
1.6 Relationships of Sections with Other Organizations.
a. With the approval of the Executive Committee, a Section may establish a liaison relationship with its counterpart Section of the American Bar Association and with similar national organizations. Before contacting any organization for this purpose, the Chair should inform the Executive Director of the Section’s interest and purpose in establishing a liaison relationship.
b. A Section may not become a member of another organization or join with an organization outside AALS in sponsoring a program or project unless it obtains prior approval from the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may approve the membership or joint action if it finds that AALS’s interests are served and the program or project is limited in time and scope.
a. Upon request by a Section, the Executive Committee may appropriate general AALS funds to support Section activities and programs.
b. A Section through its bylaws may impose dues upon its members.
c. All funds of a Section, including dues received, must be banked through AALS’s national office. The national office will disburse funds upon the authorization of the officer designated by the Section.
d. General funds of AALS appropriated to a Section may be used, among other purposes, to:
i. compensate students for performing research and similar tasks for a Section project;
ii. reimburse a person who participates as a speaker or panelist in a Section program and who is not a faculty member of any U.S. law school for the person’s travel and other expenses in accordance with AALS’s travel reimbursement policies; and
iii. purchase, for a reasonable amount, a plaque or other memorial of an approved award or citation.
e. General funds of AALS appropriated to a Section may not be used to:
i. reimburse a faculty member of any U.S. law school, whether on leave or not, for travel;
ii. pay honoraria; or
iii. pay for food, drink, or entertainment for Section members.
f. Revenue generated by a Section project will first be used by AALS to recapture any costs incurred by AALS in connection with the project. Two-thirds of any remaining revenue generated by the project should be distributed to the Section, and the remaining one-third to AALS.
1.8 Procedures for Section Awards and Citations. A Section may make a periodic or occasional award for distinguished scholarshipor service provided that its award criteria and procedures are approved in advance by the Executive Director.
1.9 Establishing Sections.
a. Upon receiving a petition signed by at least 50 full-time faculty members or professional staff from at least 25 member schools, AALS’s Executive Committee may provisionally establish a Section. The petition should include: (1) the Section’s proposed name, (2) subject area(s) that will be the Section’s concern, (3) proposed programs and activities of the Section, (4) the names of the initial officers and executive committee members of the Section (who will serve until the first Annual Meeting of AALS after the Section is granted provisional status), and (5) the Section’s proposed bylaws (which will become the initial bylaws of the Section, if provisional status is granted).
b. The Executive Committee may grant provisional status to the proposed Section if it finds that: (i) the petition and the proposed bylaws conform to the requirements of this chapter, (ii) the proposed subject area(s) do not materially duplicate that of another Section, and (iii) establishing the Section serves the interests of AALS.
c. Each Section’s bylaws (whether having full or provisional status) should provide for an executive committee of at least five persons including a Chair, a Chair-Elect, and any other officers the Section determines. Section officers should file proposed amendments to a Section’s bylaws with the Executive Director who should review them for conformity with the Bylaws and Regulations of AALS. If a proposed amendment to the Section’s bylaws does not comply with AALS’s Bylaws or these Regulations, the Executive Director or the Executive Director’s designee should notify the Section Chair and work with the Section to ensure that the proposed amendments are consistent with AALS Bylaws and these Regulations.
d. Two years after receiving provisional status, a Section may petition the Executive Committee for full status. A Section has up to three years from receiving provisional status to file the petition. The petition should (i) describe the Section’s activities during the period of provisional status, including all programs presented, (ii) state the estimated attendance for each program, (iii) attach copies of newsletters and other publications and (iv) provide funding details. The petition must be signed by the Chair and the Chair-Elect of the Section. If the Executive Committee finds that the Section has served the interests of AALS during its provisional status and that it will continue to do so, it may grant full status to the Section.
e. Failure to petition for full status on or before the third anniversary of the grant of provisional status will automatically dissolve the Section unless the period of provisional status is extended by the Executive Committee. A Section with provisional status will automatically dissolve upon failure to apply for full status at the end of any extension period granted by the Executive Committee.
CHAPTER 2. DEANS FORUM AND STEERING COMMITTEE
2.1 Purpose. The purpose of the Deans’ Forum is to provide the deans of all AALS member and fee-paid law schools a venue for working together on institutional and national matters of importance to legal education.
2.2 Deans’ Forum Membership. Membership in the Deans Forum is restricted to current deans of AALS member and fee-paid law schools.
2.3 Steering Committee of AALS Deans’ Forum. The mission of the Steering Committee of the Deans’ Forum (“Steering Committee”) is to identify issues affecting legal education and to develop strategies to assist law school deans to build great law schools and improve legal education.
a. Membership in the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee should be current deans of AALS member law schools.
b. Officers and Terms. The Steering Committee will be composed of a Chair who serves for two years, and eight or nine members who serve for staggered three-year terms. In addition, all members of the Executive Committee of AALS who are current law school deans also serve as Steering Committee members.
c. Nominating Committee. The AALS President will appoint annually a Nominating Committee consisting of at least three members of the Deans’ Forum. This Nominating Committee should solicit nominations from all members of the Deans’ Forum for open positions on the Steering Committee. The nominees recommended by the Nominating Committee should reflect the diversity of institutional membership in the Deans’ Forum. Members of the Steering Committee should not serve consecutive terms. In alternate years, the AALS President-Elect should also appoint a Chair of the Steering Committee from among deans who have served on the Steering Committee.
2.4 Relationship of Deans’ Forum to AALS. The Deans’ Forum and its Steering Committee may not speak for AALS, the House of Representatives, or the Executive Committee. They should make clear in any public statements or appearances that the views they express do not necessarily represent the view of AALS.
CHAPTER 3. COMMITTEES
3.1 Establishing Committees. Committees of AALS are established and appointed as provided in Section 5-3(h) of the AALS Bylaws.
3.2 Meetings. AALS Committee meetings should be scheduled by the Executive Director in consultation with the Committee Chair. Except for meetings scheduled in conjunction with the AALS Annual Meeting, Committees will ordinarily meet virtually or at AALS’s national office.
3.3 Communications with Law Schools and with Other Organizations.
a. Committees may recommend AALS policies and positions to the Executive Committee. Unless specifically authorized by the Bylaws, these Regulations, or the Executive Committee, no Committee may take a position on behalf of AALS. A Committee may submit to the Executive Committee a recommendation that AALS take a stated position.
b. When appropriate to a Committee’s work, a Committee may communicate with deans, faculty, and professional staff of member and fee-paid law schools for the purpose of gathering information or consulting with them, but these communications must be approved in advance by the Executive Director. Any draft position or statement contained in these communications should include a notation that the statement has not been adopted by AALS.
c. Any survey or questionnaire that a Committee wants to distribute must be approved in advance by the Executive Director who should act in consultation with the President.
d. Unless specifically authorized to do so by the Executive Committee, a Committee should not communicate to a member school nor to the public the Committee’s views concerning the school’s compliance with the rules of membership, or the quality or characteristics of the school’s educational program or institutional policies.
e. A Committee may not become a member of another organization or join with an organization outside AALS in sponsoring a program or project unless it obtains prior approval from the Executive Committee.
f. A Committee may not file amicus curiae briefs.
3.4 External Funding. All applications for grants, sponsorships, or other support from external funding sources should be made only by AALS. No Committee may itself apply for, or receive funding from, an external source. After receiving the Executive Director’s approval, a Committee may make preliminary contacts with an external source regarding possible grants, sponsorships, or other funding. After approved preliminary contacts have been made, a Committee may ask the Executive Committee to apply for a grant, sponsorship, or other funding from an external source in the name of AALS.
3.5 Finances. The Executive Committee may appropriate AALS funds to support the activities of Committees. Except for the ordinary travel expenses of Committee members, a Committee may not commit to pay or use AALS funds without the prior approval of the Executive Director or Executive Committee.
3.6 Reports and Minutes of Committees.
a. At the end of each year, each Committee Chair should submit to the Executive Director a brief report of the Committee’s activities.
b. Committees may keep minutes of their meetings. Committees should submit the minutes and any reports to the Executive Committee through the Executive Director. Committee records and reports are subject to policies of AALS concerning AALS records contained in Chapter 5 of these Regulations.
3.7 Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (“CAFT”) is a standing committee created by the Executive Committee pursuant to AALS Bylaw Section 5-3(h).
a. Definition of Faculty Member. For purposes of this section, “faculty member” means a professional who is or was tenured, on the tenure track, or, although not on the tenure track, engaged in teaching or scholarship, including work in a clinical or research and writing program at a member school.
b. Definition of Academic Freedom. Bylaw Section 6-6(d) provides: “A faculty member shall have academic freedom and tenure in accordance with the principles of the American Association of University Professors.” Those principles are defined by the American Association of University Professors’ 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure with 1970 Interpretive Comments. Specifically, AALS adopts the position of the 1970 Interpretive Comments: “most church-related institutions no longer need or desire the departure from the principles of academic freedom implied in the 1940 Statement, and we do not now endorse such a departure.”
c. Assessments of Procedures for Academic Freedom and Tenure at Member Schools. When a member school requests an assessment of its procedures for protecting academic freedom or tenure, the Executive Director will determine how the assessment can best be provided by consulting with the Chair of CAFT, consulting with and seeking advice from CAFT, or by referring the matter to the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure & Governance within the American Association of University Professors [AAUP].
d. Requests for Assistance from a Faculty Member. The Executive Director will refer a faculty member requesting assistance to the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, & Governance within the AAUP. A faculty member who reasonably believes that there is an academic freedom or tenure problem at the faculty member’s school should consult the Resources on Academic Freedom on the AAUP website or may write to email@example.com.
e. Confidentiality. AALS will treat as confidential all matters and material relating to requests under this section. A person receiving any of these materials may not show, read, or deliver them to a person not authorized under this section to receive them unless required by law. The CAFT Chair or the Executive Director may make material available to CAFT, the Executive Committee, the Managing Director of Accreditation and Legal Education of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, or other persons in the discretion of the Executive Director or the CAFT Chair. If information disclosed pursuant to this chapter becomes public at any time, the President, after consulting with the Executive Director and the CAFT Chair, may release any further information necessary to correct the public record if such disclosure serves the interests of AALS.
CHAPTER 4. ASSOCIATION FINANCES-MEMBERSHIP DUES
4.1 Annual Dues. Each year each member school shall pay membership dues to the Association. For the calendar year 2019, the dues shall be $8,435 for a school whose enrollment does not exceed 250 students; $12,650 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 250 students but does not exceed 500 students; $16,885 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 500 students but does not exceed 800 students; $21,060 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 800 students but does not exceed 1100 students; $25,295 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1100 students but does not exceed 1400 students; $29,875 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1400 students but does not exceed 1700 students; and $33,715 for a school whose enrollment exceeds 1700 students.
4.2 Determining Enrollment. The following rules and definitions determine a member school’s enrollment for purposes of computing its annual AALS dues:
a. The applicable enrollment date is the date established by the American Bar Association in its annual law school questionnaire for reporting enrollment.
b. “Student” means a person enrolled in a law school course to obtain credit towards a degree supervised by the faculty of the member school, whether the degree is the first professional degree or other degree. “Student” does not include a person enrolled only as a candidate for a degree in another school or college who is auditing or taking a law school course for credit on that degree. “Student” also does not cover a lawyer enrolled in a non-credit continuing legal education offering of the member school.
c. The number of students enrolled is determined by counting each person enrolled in a full-time program as one student and each person enrolled in a part-time program as three-fourths of a student. If a person is enrolled for nine or fewer credit hours in a full-time program or six or fewer credit hours in a part-time program and is charged two-thirds or less the tuition charged a student carrying the normal load in that program, the person shall be counted as two-thirds of a student if that person is enrolled in a full-time program and as half of a student if that person is enrolled in a part-time program.
CHAPTER 5. ACCESS TO ASSOCIATION MEETINGS AND DOCUMENTS
5.1 Definition. As used in this Chapter, the term “record” means report, memorandum, letter, or any other writing or communication in any form or format.
5.2 Access to AALS Meetings. After paying the registration fee, any individual may attend a program at the AALS’s Annual Meeting or other academic conferences or workshops unless program attendance is limited by the President. The Executive Director, in consultation with the President, may waive the registration fee for special guests of AALS.
5.3 AALS Records. The Executive Director may classify certain AALS records as confidential. A record should be classified confidential if it relates to (i) the professional credentials, performance, or competence of an identified or identifiable individual, who is a present, former, or potential officer, Executive Committee member, member of an AALS committee, or staff member, (ii) an alleged violation of academic freedom or tenure or discrimination in employment by a member or other law school, (iii) litigation in which AALS is a party, (iv) materials received in confidence from other organizations, (v) a sensitive matter affecting AALS’s relations with another organization, government agency, or individual, or (vi) other matters that would unduly invade the privacy of individuals or organizations if released. Site evaluation reports and related documents should be classified confidential subject to the special provisions of Regulation 5.6 below, unless subject to state or federal public disclosure laws.
5.4 Access to Association Records. AALS records that are not designated confidential may be disclosed outside AALS at the discretion of the Executive Director. Confidential records may be distributed only to current members of the Executive Committee, AALS committees and staff, and to those persons designated by the Executive Director or the President on a need-to-know basis.
5.5 Access to Site Evaluation Reports.
a. The site evaluation report on a member or applicant law school made on behalf of AALS, whether or not it is also made on behalf of the American Bar Association, should be furnished to the dean of the school and the president or chief executive officer of the institution. The AALS should inform the recipients that the report is not for publication, but in the spirit of Bylaw Section 6-5, nothing in these Regulations limits or impedes them from providing a copy of the report to members of the full-time faculty and professional staff of the law school and the governing board and to officials in the university administration who have official reason to see the report.
b. The dean of the law school and the president or chief executive officer of the institution should be provided with the letter or minutes adopted by the Executive Committee in response to the site evaluation report and should be informed that the letter or minutes may be published. The dean and president or chief executive officer should also be informed that those persons to whom subsection (a) authorizes them to show or give a copy of the inspection report are entitled to read or receive a copy of the letter or minutes. If denied access to the letter or minutes, a member of the full-time faculty may obtain a copy of AALS’s response from the AALS office.
5.6 Access for Research. The Executive Director may provide a researcher with access to or copies of confidential AALS records if the researcher demonstrates that the researcher and the project are qualified, and signs an agreement that safeguards will be established to assure the integrity and security of the records. The factors that should be considered in determining whether the researcher is qualified include the researcher’s experience, education, and training. The factors that should be used in determining whether the research project is qualified include the research design, relevance of the confidential records to the research project, and plans for the research report. The confidential records must be relevant to the project and its purpose, the research project must relate to legal or higher education or the legal profession, and the research design must assure that the report does not contain data in a form that identifies or makes identifiable a member or other law school or individual. If the Executive Director determines that the researcher’s access should be to copies instead of the original records, the researcher must pay the reasonable cost of making copies. The Executive Committee may establish additional restrictions on the disclosure of Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) data collected by AALS.
5.7 Reclassifying Confidential Records. The Executive Director is authorized to periodically review and reclassify AALS records previously designated as confidential.
5.8 Access to Documents of Other Organizations in AALS’s Possession. Access to confidential documents of another organization that are in AALS’s possession, such as documents prepared for or by the American Bar Association, may be obtained only with the approval of the Executive Committee and with the consent of the other organization.
5.9 Access to Records of Member Law Schools. An individual who wishes access to records in AALS’s possession but that belong to a law school must apply to the Executive Director in writing designating the school, a description of the records requested, and the research or other purposes sought to be served. Upon receipt of the request, the Executive Director should inform the dean of the law school. If the dean grants the written request, the Executive Director may make the records available. If the school is no longer in existence and there is no successor school, the Executive Director may grant access unless doing so has the potential for violating the privacy rights of any person or violating AALS core values. The person requesting records must pay the cost of copying and mailing any paper records disclosed by AALS.
CHAPTER 6. MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
6-2.1 Evaluating Applicants for Admission to the Juris Doctor Program. In determining whether an applicant has the capacity to meet its academic standards, a member school should consider the applicant’s undergraduate academic record, experience, and an admission test score or other indicia in a manner consistent with Bylaw 6-3. A decision to admit an applicant whose degree was earned outside the United States should be supported by careful evaluation of the applicant’s academic record. Member schools should require each applicant to make full written disclosure of any prior attendance at any law school.
6-2.2 Financial Considerations. A member school may not permit financial considerations to distort its overall admissions policies either by admitting students who appear to lack the capacity to meet the school’s academic standards in order to achieve enrollment targets or by making admissions determinations premised on students’ financial needs.
6-2.3 Recruitment. A member school should make available to anyone requesting an admissions application the following information: admissions data; tuition and fees, living costs, and financial aid; conditional scholarships; enrollment data, including academic, transfer and other attrition; numbers of full-time and part-time faculty, professional librarians, and administrators; class sizes for first-year and upper-class courses and number of seminars, clinics, and co-curricular offerings; employment outcomes and bar passage data; recent historical data regarding the academic qualifications of its student body; student activities and groups; and information concerning the school’s grading system, retention rules and procedures, and nondiscrimination policies.
6-2.4 Conditions of Admission. A member school may not require an applicant to accept an offer of admission or to submit a deposit any earlier than necessary to protect the school’s admissions priorities and other applicants’ opportunities for admission or financial aid.
6-3.1 Law Schools with a Religious Affiliation or Purpose. It is not inconsistent with Bylaw Section 6-3(a) for a law school with a religious affiliation or purpose to adopt preferential admissions and employment practices that directly relate to the school’s religious affiliation or purpose so long as (1) notice of the practices is provided to members of the law school community (students, faculty and staff) before their affiliation with the school; (2) the practices do not interfere with the school’s provision of satisfactory legal education as provided for in the AALS’s Bylaws and these Regulations, whether because of lack of a sufficient intellectual diversity or for any other reason; (3) the practices comply with all other Bylaws and these Regulations; (4) the practices do not discriminate on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender (including identity and expression); and (5) the practices contain neither a blanket exclusion nor a limit on the number of persons admitted or employed on religious grounds.
6-3.2 Equal Opportunity in Employment.
a. A member school should inform employers of its obligation under Bylaw 6-3(b), and require employers, as a condition of obtaining any form of placement assistance or use of the school’s facilities, to provide an assurance of the employer’s willingness to observe the principles of equal opportunity stated in Bylaw 6-3(b).
b. A member school has an obligation to investigate credible complaints concerning discriminatory practices against its students that are inconsistent with the core values of AALS to assure that placement assistance and facilities are made available only to employers whose practices are consistent with the principles of equal opportunity stated in Bylaw 6-3(b).
6-4.1 Full-time Faculty Requirement. A member school demonstrates compliance with Bylaw 6-4(d) if in each division of its program, the school’s full-time faculty during the academic year offer at least sixty percent of the Juris Doctor credit hours or of student contact hours leading to the Juris Doctor degree.
6-4.2 Limits on Outside Professional Activities. To determine whether outside professional activities are properly limited so as not to divert a full-time faculty member from the faculty member’s primary interest and duty as a legal educator, the following factors should be considered:
(i) The extent to which the outside activity coincides with the full-time faculty member’s major fields of interest as a teacher and scholar;
(ii) The character of the professional activity as a source of novel and enriching experience that can be directly utilized in the person’s capacity as teacher and scholar;
(iii) The degree to which the demands of the outside activity interfere with the faculty member’s regular presence in the law school and availability for consultation and interchange with students and colleagues; and
(iv) The extent to which the outside activity may properly be characterized as public service, as distinct from the pursuit of private purposes.
6-7.1 The Juris Doctor Degree Program. A member school should arrange the curriculum and class schedule of its full-time Juris Doctor program to require substantially the full working time of enrolled students. It is not inconsistent with this regulation for a law school to have, for example, different length semesters for first year students than for upper-class students, as well as mini-semesters and summer sessions.
6-7.2 Compensation Standards. A member school may not tie its staff’s compensation to the number of students taught or to the fees received.
6-7.3 The Juris Doctor Degree Program in Special Circumstances. A member school may modify the normal duration of its Juris Doctor degree program to accommodate special circumstances of individual students. For example, a school that offers only a full-time program may offer a part-time schedule to an individual student with special needs. A member school should establish minimum and maximum limits on the duration of its program to assure that those individual students with special needs complete their course of study within a reasonable time.
6-7.4 Joint Degree Programs. All joint degree programs must be approved by the full time faculty. A member school may reduce the number of law school credit hours required for the Juris Doctor degree for those students who are completing a graduate degree in another field as part of a joint degree program. Schools should plan the joint degree program to assure rigor and appropriate integration of law with the other discipline.
6-7.5 Academic Credit Earned at Another Institution.
a. Advanced standing and credit hours granted for study at a non-ABA approved law school by an admitting member school may not exceed one-third of the total required for its Juris Doctor degree. A member school may grant advanced standing for foreign study up to one third of the total number of credits required for its Juris Doctor degree.
b. If a member school permits a student who has already matriculated to earn academic credit for course work offered by a foreign institution, the academic credit allowed must be commensurate with the time and effort expended and the educational benefits derived by the student. In no case may a school award a student more than one third of the total number of credits required for its Juris Doctor degree for participation in foreign programs. The full-time faculty must approve each foreign study program in advance and should periodically review the program for its academic content and benefit. For individual student-initiated study abroad for which academic credit is sought, a full-time faculty member should monitor each student’s experience to assure that the educational goals of the member school are being met.
c. A member school may seek a variance from paragraph b of this Chapter from the Executive Director, subject to review by the Executive Committee, if the school and the foreign school have established, or seek to establish, a joint degree program by which students may receive degrees from both institutions by recognizing more than one third of the total required credits at each school for their degree programs.
6-7.6 Other Programs. A member school may provide other educational programs so long as the Juris Doctor degree program is not impaired. Before establishing such a program, a member school should ensure compliance with Chapter 8.2 of these Regulations.
6-7.7 Study and Instruction. A member school should maintain a program of study and instruction approved by the full-time faculty. A member school may employ adjunct faculty primarily in advanced and specialized offerings if it maintains effective procedures for their selection, orientation and evaluation.
6-7.8 Evaluating Student Performance. Evaluation of student performance should be based in primary part on written work, such as written examinations, research papers, drafting exercises, or briefs. Oral examinations may also be used. In addition, student performance may be evaluated on demonstrated ability to investigate, counsel, interview, negotiate, litigate, and to perform other lawyering activities.
6-7.9 Course Content.
a. To effectively implement Bylaw 6-7(a), member schools should offer courses in a wide variety of subject matters, and provide students with an opportunity to study some areas of the law in depth and to gain an understanding of the lawyer’s professional responsibility. Further, member schools are encouraged to offer instruction that develops jurisprudential, transnational, multicultural, and interdisciplinary perspectives on law, lawmaking, and legal practice.
b. To effectively implement Bylaw 6-7(c), member schools should offer instruction that provides students with an opportunity to develop the skills of legal research, written and oral communication, and critical analysis of primary legal materials. Further, member schools are encouraged to offer additional instruction in dispute resolution, planning and problem solving, drafting, and counseling.
6-7.10 Externship Programs.
a. If a member school offers opportunities for students to obtain credit for externships in a legal office, including, but not limited to, externships with the judiciary, public policy institutes, legislative bodies, international organizations, or in other legal practice settings, the academic credit awarded should be commensurate with the time and effort expended and the educational benefits derived by the student.
b. To ensure the academic value of externship programs, a member law school with an externship program should set out the goals and methods of the program and explain how its structure is designed to achieve those goals. The faculty should approve the introduction of any such program and remain responsible for ensuring that the program is meeting its objectives.
c. Member schools are encouraged to include an academic component designed to prepare students to participate effectively as externs and to enable students to derive substantial educational benefits from their externship. The academic component should be taught by one who has the necessary expertise and who is selected and reviewed in the same manner as persons responsible for teaching other courses in the academic program.
6-8.1 Library Governance.
a. To ensure that the library policies appropriately reflect and advance the teaching and research objectives of the law school, the library should formulate its policies with faculty participation.
b. The law library should have sufficient autonomy within the university in matters of administration, including budget and personnel, to assure a high standard of service.
A member school, with the participation of the library director and faculty, should prepare, periodically review, and implement a written plan of library development, identifying in detail steps appropriate and resources sufficient to achieve its objectives, including appropriate growth of the collection, sufficient personnel to provide services, suitable physical facilities, and an effective system for facilitating access to materials.
6-8.3 Maintaining Physical Condition of Collection. The law library should assure the preservation of its collection.
6-8.4 Access to Information Resources. To support and encourage the instruction and research of its faculty and students, the law library should offer reasonable access in terms of time and form to a wide array of matters including central collections, databases, jointly held special collections, numerous supportive interdisciplinary materials, and other types of off-site auxiliary resources.
6-8.5 Conditions Conducive to Library Use.
a. The law library should be designed, organized, equipped, operated, and have adequate space to contribute to efficient, comfortable, and productive use by its patrons, and to provide access to appropriate research technology.
b. The law library should be designed, organized, and equipped to enable its staff to carry out research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities.
6-9 Faculty Support. Member schools should provide enough space to faculty to facilitate interaction between faculty and students and to enhance faculty research.
CHAPTER 7. PROCEDURES FOR ADMISSION TO OR WITHDRAWAL FROM MEMBERSHIP IN THE ASSOCIATION; PROCEDURES FOR APPEALS FROM DECISIONS NOT TO RECOMMEND MEMBERSHIP OR TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS
7.1 Membership Application.
a. Time to Apply. A law school seeking AALS membership should, at least 21 months before the Annual Meeting at which it seeks to have its application for membership considered by the House of Representatives, notify the Executive Director of its intention to file an application. Thirteen months before that Annual Meeting, the school should file a notice of readiness, and at least 11 months before that Annual Meeting the school should file its application for membership.
b. Eligibility for Admission. A law school may not be admitted to AALS membership until it has offered five years of instruction and has graduated its third class.
c. Application Fee-Site Evaluation Expenses. An applicant for membership in AALS should pay an application fee of $35,000. The applicant school should also reimburse each member of the team who inspects the school in connection with the application for all expenses reasonably incurred in making the site evaluation and preparing the site evaluation report and the member of the site evaluation team designated to confer with the Membership Review Committee concerning the site evaluation for all expenses reasonably incurred in attending the conference with the Membership Review Committee.
d. Withdrawing an Application for Membership. A law school that has applied for membership may withdraw its application without prejudice at any time before the Executive Committee makes a final decision. If the Executive Committee denies an application, the law school may not file a new application for at least 24 months.
7.2 Appeals from an Executive Committee Decision to Not Recommend Membership or to Impose Sanctions.
a. Appeal by Applicant for Membership. If, after considering a law school’s application for membership, the Executive Committee decides not to recommend that the House of Representatives admit the school to membership, the applicant school may appeal this decision to the House by giving written notice to the Executive Director within ten days after notice of the decision is mailed to the applicant school. The appeal may be based only on the ground that the Executive Committee improperly applied a Bylaw or Executive Committee Regulation to the school and its program in determining not to recommend the school for membership.
b. Appeal by a Member School from Action by the Executive Committee. Under Bylaw Secs. 7-2 and 7-3, a member school may appeal to the House of Representatives a decision of the Executive Committee to censure a school or place it on probation by filing a written notice of appeal with the Executive Director within 20 days after notice of the censure or probation by the Executive Committee is given [Bylaw 7-2(b)]. If the Executive Committee recommends that the House of Representatives suspend or exclude a member school, the Executive Committee must give the member school written notice of its recommendation at least one month before the House of Representatives meets to consider the recommendation [Bylaw 7-3].
c. Procedures for Consideration of Appeals.
i. The Executive Director should prepare a statement of the pertinent facts concerning the school and its program. If the AALS President and the dean of the law school cannot agree on the statement, the President, after consulting the president or chief executive officer of the applicant’s institution, should designate an impartial person to prepare the statement. This person shall determine the procedure for formulating this statement after consulting with both AALS and the school. The school will pay the cost of preparing the statement of facts.
ii. Within 10 days after the statement of facts is formulated, the Executive Director should send it to the members of the House. The Executive Director should also send to the House the statements prepared on behalf of the school that is bringing the appeal and the Executive Committee describing, in the case of an applicant school, the different interpretations of the Bylaw and Executive Committee Regulation and the reasons, and, in the case of a sanctioned member, the opposing arguments concerning whether the school is materially failing to meet the requirements of membership and whether it has taken or is taking steps that will bring it into compliance, and when.
iii. At the next Annual Meeting held at least 20 days after these statements are mailed, the House should consider the appeal. The President should take the steps necessary to assure the orderly and fair consideration of the appeal by the House. Representatives of the school are entitled to the privileges of the floor during the consideration of its appeal by the House. The pendency of the appeal does not preclude further consideration of the issues by the Executive Committee on its own motion and consequent modification of its action or recommendation.
7.3 Withdrawal from Membership. A member school may withdraw from membership by (1) non-payment of membership dues [Bylaw 2-3[b]], or (2) sending written notice of withdrawal to the Executive Director, signed by the dean of the law school and, if applicable, the president or chief executive officer of the sponsoring institution. Membership dues will not be refunded if a school withdraws.
CHAPTER 8. RECORDS AND REPORTS
8.1 Compliance Reports. A member school must report periodically or on particular occasions as may be directed by the Executive Committee to disclose whether it has fulfilled the obligations of AALS membership.
8.2 Significant Change of Operation of a School.
a. A member school that contemplates a significant change in its operation should report its plans and undergo review as specified in this Chapter. A significant change in operation means a major institutional change, including, but not limited to, the following: creating a new full- or part-time Juris Doctor program; creating a new division; establishing a branch or other separate location; relocating a school’s principal campus to a new and substantially different site; transferring in whole or part of the school and its program to a new entity; merging with a university or education entity that had not previously been affiliated with the school; creating or affiliating with a related or subsidiary education entity to provide legal education; or closing a school or a related or subsidiary education entity.
b. A member school should report fully to the Executive Committee and allow for its review before implementing a significant change in operation. The school’s report should address whether it is in compliance currently with AALS’s requirements and policies; the school’s objectives in making the proposed change; the character of the change; the effects of the change on the school’s existing program and operations; and the school’s anticipated ability to comply with membership requirements in connection with its implementation of the proposed change and the school’s future operations. However, in the case of a (1) transfer in whole or part of the school and its program to a new entity, (2) merger, (3) affiliation with a university or education entity with which it was not previously affiliated, or (4) change in the governance structure of a law school, the member school may, if circumstances justify, delay, notify and report to the Executive Committee immediately after the transfer, merger, affiliation, or change in governance structure has occurred. When there is a delay in reporting to the Executive Committee, the member school should also identify and explain those circumstances.
c. The Executive Committee should review the report of the member school to determine whether the school complies with the requirements of membership, and whether it appears that the school will remain in compliance. The Executive Committee may defer a final determination pending receipt of additional information concerning the school’s initial experience in implementing the change. The Executive Committee may require an inspection of the school at the school’s expense to assist it in making this determination. If the Executive Committee requires such an inspection of a member school that has completed a transfer, merger, affiliation, or change in governance structure, the member school’s membership in AALS will be continued contingent on the school’s remaining in compliance with AALS’s membership requirements and policies.
d. The Executive Committee may advise a school that additional review will be required before a final determination can be made concerning the membership status of the school or its affiliated programs. In making this determination, the Executive Committee should consider such elements as existing arrangements and anticipated changes in the character of the school’s educational programs; student recruitment and enrollment patterns; faculty hiring, teaching assignments and participation in governance; relationships between the dean, faculty, other administrators, staff, and students; arrangements for provision of educational, library, and student services; and financial and institutional relationships between the school and related entities.