AALS Handbook: Statement of Good Practices
Support of Academic Freedom for Clinical Faculty
The Association of American Law Schools has embraced from its very beginning the principle that law professors at member schools must enjoy the benefit of academic freedom to pursue effectively their teaching and research obligations. Bylaw 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.” For many years the Association has fully supported the principle that academic freedom applies equally to all law faculty including clinical faculty. The broad scope of Bylaw 6-6(d) is also made explicit by Executive Committee Regulation 3.7(a), which provides that the principles of academic freedom apply to all “engaged in teaching or scholarship, including work in a clinical or research and writing program at a member school” without regard to whether the position is eligible for a grant of tenure.
The resolve of the Association has been reflected in the public positions that it has taken in support of clinics at member schools that have been the subject of external pressure. The Association reaffirms that academic freedom is critical to achieving the objectives of clinical legal education and that the principle of academic freedom applies equally to clinical law faculty.
Adopted by the Executive Committee, January 3, 2001
Amended July 12, 2017