2024 Annual Meeting: Hot Topics, President’s Program, Networking

The 2024 AALS Annual Meeting is around the corner. We look forward to welcoming the law school community back to Washington, DC with four days packed with sessions and events, celebrations and awards, and time to connect with collaborators, new faces, and old friends. 

The majority of sessions are organized by the 107 AALS sections, and there are several additional types of AALS sessions chosen from calls for proposals. Throughout the meeting, check out Arc of Career professional development sessions, Hot Topic programs, discussion groups, and Open Source traditional scholarly sessions. Most programs will be recorded and made available after the meeting. 

We are delighted to be hosting the Annual Meeting at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC and newly-renovated Westin Washington DC Downtown. These hotels are new for AALS: a new neighborhood, new restaurants, and quicker access to downtown DC museums and monuments. 

If you have not already done so, register now! The last day to register in advance without incurring an onsite registration fee is January 2.  

Hot Topic Sessions Just Added

Wednesday, January 3 

Friday, January 5 

Saturday, January 6 

President’s Program

A Conversation with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson 

Thursday, January 4, 10 am – 11:40 am 

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will join AALS President Mark Alexander in conversation about her life, career, and thoughts about how law schools can help defend democracy. Secretary Benson provides a unique perspective on the current issues facing our democracy and the law: as Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State, she has become one of the nation’s most prominent leaders in ensuring elections are secure and accessible. She will take audience questions as selected and moderated by President Alexander. 

It is a particular pleasure to welcome back one of our own to the Annual Meeting. A graduate of Harvard Law School and expert on civil rights law, education law, and election law, Benson served as dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. When she was appointed dean at age 36, she became the youngest woman in U.S. history to lead a top-100, accredited law school. 

Previously, Benson was an associate professor and associate director of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. Benson is the author of State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process. She is also a co-founder and former president of Military Spouses of Michigan, a network dedicated to providing support and services to military spouses and their children. In 2015, she was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 2016, she became one of a handful of women to have completed the Boston Marathon while eight months pregnant. 

Defending Democracy 

The 2024 Annual Meeting Theme from AALS President Mark Alexander 

Mark Alexander Presidential Address 2023

We live in a great country. But there are real threats to it. Three-quarters of all voters – left, right, center – believe our democracy is in peril. Extremism, anti-Semitism, racism, violence against LGBTQ people, and political violence persist. It is part of the reason I chose “Defending Democracy” as the theme for my tenure as AALS President. 

Law schools can play a critical role in the future of our country and our democracy. The legal profession has never had a higher profile and greater exposure than over the last few years. Lawyers are everywhere in places of prominence, power, and policy. Lawyers have shaped and will continue to shape our democracy. 

What, then, is our responsibility as educators of future lawyers? What role do we play in helping to ensure that our democracy endures? Our work begins with three pillars that define every law school: curriculum, scholarship, and culture. We are teaching the courses, writing the scholarship, and shaping the cultures that propel legal education. 

When we raise our collective voice, people listen. Defending democracy is not about politics. It’s about what we can do together. Throughout the next year and beyond, I look forward to working with all of you to advance this ever-important work. 


There are plenty of opportunities for you to connect with colleagues new and familiar throughout the meeting.

General networking

Attend the opening reception, investigate the Exhibit Hall, arrange meetings during the extended coffee breaks each day of the meeting, and check out section and law school receptions each night.

For new faculty

One of your first stops should be the session for first-time meeting attendees on January 3, followed immediately that evening by the reception for new law school teachers.

For pretenure teachers of color

The annual Workshop for Pretenured Law School Teachers of Color will take place in the afternoon on Friday, January 5.