Admission to AALS membership is by vote of the House of Representatives at the Annual Meeting acting upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee. A law school is eligible to apply for membership after it has offered five years of instruction and graduated its third class. Applicant schools must meet the obligations of membership set forth in the Bylaws of the Association. The controlling issue on such decisions is the overall academic quality of the school measured against standards that reflect the Association’s core values, namely:
- A faculty composed primarily of full-time teachers/scholars who constitute a self-governing intellectual community engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about law, legal processes and legal systems, and who are devoted to fostering justice and public service;
- Academic freedom;
- Diversity of viewpoints;
- Excellent scholarship;
- Excellent teaching;
- A rigorous academic program in the context of a dynamic curriculum that is both broad and deep;
- A diverse faculty who are hired, promoted, and retained based on meeting and supporting high standards of teaching and scholarship and in accordance with principles of non-discrimination;
- Competent and professional staff to support the mission of the law school;
- Selection of students based upon intellectual ability and personal potential for success in the study and practice of law, through a fair and non-discriminatory process designed to produce a diverse student body and a broadly representative legal profession; and
- Honesty, integrity and professionalism in dealing with students, faculty, staff, the public, and the Association.
A site visit team visits the applicant school to help determine its compliance with the membership criteria contained in the AALS Bylaws and Chapters Six and Seven of the Executive Committee Regulations. The report of the site evaluation team is referred to the Membership Review Committee, which makes recommendations to the Executive Committee, which in turn examines the application and reports to the House of Representatives at the Annual Meeting whether the applicant has qualified and, if so, puts it for a vote. The Executive Committee Regulations specify appeal procedures.
For information about the membership application process, including staff review and the responsibilities of the consultant on readiness, please contact Membership Review.