AALS Selects 2024 Scholarly Papers Competition Winner

The Association of American Law Schools has announced the winner of the 2024 AALS Scholarly Papers Competition for law school faculty members in the field for five years or fewer. The competition’s selection committee recognized the following outstanding paper:

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Maria Ponomarenko, Assistant Professor, University of Texas School of Law

The Small Agency Problem in American Policing” Maria Ponomarenko, Assistant Professor, University of Texas School of Law

In the article, Ponomarenko spotlights gaps in legal scholarship about small-town and rural policing and explores differences between small-town and large-city departments. Using data and case studies, she explores the factors that lead to systemic failures in smaller agencies and proposes regulatory measures and reforms based on her findings. The article will be published in an upcoming issue of the New York University Law Review.

“It meant a great deal to me that the AALS recognized the importance of studying small policing agencies,” Ponomarenko said. “More than 80 percent of local police departments and sheriffs’ offices have fewer than 50 officers. We will never make serious headway in addressing the problems of policing by focusing on big city agencies alone. I try in this piece to identify the dysfunctions of small agencies—from over-enforcement against outsiders, to the lack of protections for marginalized communities within their jurisdiction—and what might be done to address them.”

The AALS Committee to Review Scholarly Papers for the 2024 Annual Meeting included distinguished legal scholars from around the country:

The selection committee also recognized the following papers as honorable mentions:

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The competition is now in its 38th year and the winner and honorable mention recipients will be recognized during a ceremony at the AALS Annual Meeting on January 4, 2024.