AALS Handbook: Statement of Good Practices

Recruitment of and Resignation by Full-Time Faculty Members

The Association of American Law Schools recognizes that the mobility of faculty members among law schools and other professional positions is both inevitable and desirable. Yet the departure of a full-time faculty colleague always requires changes at a law school. Unless the school is given sufficient time to find another faculty member to offer the instruction given by the departing teacher, the reasonable expectations of students will be frustrated and the school’s educational program otherwise disrupted. To serve the best interests of the program of legal education from which the teacher is departing and that to which she or he may be going, the Association urges law schools and law faculty members to follow these suggested practices.

The basic principles announced in the Statement on Recruitment and Resignation of Faculty Members, issued in 1961 by the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges, remain sound. But the present environment in legal and higher education requires a substantially greater lead time in making faculty appointments and other administrative decisions. This statement of good practices is designed to provide those who wish to proceed responsibly a guide to appropriate conduct.

Faculty Appointments Within the Statement. This statement applies to the recruitment of a full-time law teacher who is in active service at or on leave from a law school and is not on terminal appointment. It applies whether the appointment offered is with or without tenure or to a position not eligible for tenure and whether the faculty member has tenure. It does not apply to recruiting law-school administrators who do not hold faculty status, other than the dean or law library director.

Importance of Early Recruitment. Negotiations regarding the appointment for the following academic year of a full-time faculty member at another law school should be started and completed as early as practicable in the academic year.

Offer of Appointment. To permit a full-time faculty member to consider fully an offer and give timely notice of resignation or request for leave of absence to his or her current law school, a law school should make indefinite appointment offers for the following academic year no later than March 1 and a visiting appointment offer no later than March 15.

Resignation or Request for Leave of Absence. A full-time faculty member should not resign to accept an indefinite teaching appointment at another law school during the next academic year later than March 15 nor request leave of absence to accept a visiting appointment later than April 1. Absent acquiescence of the other school’s dean, a law school should not offer an indefinite appointment or visiting appointment that contemplates that the faculty member resign or request leave of absence at a later date.

Consent of the Dean of the Law School. Even if the dean of the law school on whose faculty the person serves has acquiesced, a law school should not make an appointment offer to a full-time faculty member at another law school after May 1 for an indefinite appointment or May 15 for a visiting appointment, and a faculty member should not resign or request a leave of absence after May 30 for an indefinite appointment or June 1 for a visiting appointment.

Recruitment of the Dean or Director of the Library. An offer to serve as dean starting the following academic year should be made to a full-time law teacher or dean as early as practicable in the academic year. Because the impact on a school’s program is significantly different in having to defer appointment of the dean for a year from that of having to defer appointment of a full-time teacher, the appointment of a dean may appropriately follow a later schedule than that suggested for the appointment of a full-time faculty member. All affected parties should, however, cooperate in making these appointments to help serve the interests of both law schools. This standard also applies to the director of the law school library.

Adopted by the Executive Committee, August 12, 1979

Amended, November 16, 1984

Amended, May 15, 1986

Amended, July 12, 2017