2023 AALS Annual Meeting Preview

How Law Schools Can Make a Difference

January 3 – 7 | San Diego, CA

With the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego around the corner, check out some of the meeting highlights and start planning your daily schedule. We are looking forward to convening the first in-person, wholly cross-disciplinary meeting in three years.

Sessions will run from 8 am – 4:40 pm (Pacific) each day. The majority of sessions are organized by the 106 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.

There are also plenty of opportunities to gather together, reconnect as a community, and celebrate each other’s successes after the uncertainty of the last few years. The awards ceremony will for the first time be held in-person, with several new major awards from AALS and from sections to be announced for the first time. This year’s opening reception will be held outside in the Southern California sun, where all attendees can mingle while enjoying complimentary refreshments and appetizers.

Other highlights include:

Many faculty members will be at the in-person meeting for the first time. Please join us in welcoming them to the academy.

If you have not already done so, register now! The last day to register in advance without incurring an onsite registration fee is January 1.

Hot Topic Sessions Just Added

Wednesday, January 4
Thursday, January 5
Friday, January 6
Saturday, January 7

President’s Program: A Conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Wednesday, January 4, 8:30 am – 9:30 am Pacific

AALS is pleased to announce that 2023 Annual Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to hear from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the President’s Program in San Diego. Justice Sotomayor will join AALS President Erwin Chemerinsky in conversation about her life, career, and thoughts about how law schools can make a difference.

Justice Sotomayor will appear via live video conference, and will take audience questions as selected and moderated by President Chemerinsky in San Diego. There is no virtual option to attend the program.

Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, was born in Bronx, New York, on June 25, 1954. She earned a B.A. in 1976 from Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and receiving the Pyne Prize, the highest academic honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. In 1979, she earned a J.D. from Yale Law School where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She served as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1979–1984. She then litigated international commercial matters in New York City at Pavia & Harcourt, where she served as an associate and then partner from 1984–1992. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated her to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and she served in that role from 1992–1998. In 1997, she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit where she served from 1998–2009. President Barack Obama nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, and she assumed this role August 8, 2009.

How Law Schools Can Make a Difference

The 2023 Annual Meeting theme from AALS President Erwin Chemerinsky

The only thing about which there seems to be a consensus is that American society, and the world, are facing unprecedented dangers. Climate change threatens the planet and all life on it. There has been a rise of authoritarian governments in many countries in the world. The events of late 2020 and early 2021, including on January 6, reveal the fragility of American democracy. The racial reckoning reminds us of the ongoing deeply embedded racial inequalities in the United States. Tremendous inequities exist in terms of access to justice.

All of this affects the law and if there are to be solutions, they must include legal changes. What can law schools do to make a difference in these and other areas? In some areas, it might be rethinking how we educate tomorrow’s lawyers. In others, it might be new directions in scholarship. It could be law schools being the venue for convening thought-leaders. It almost certainly must include enhanced support for public service and pro bono work by students and faculty.

My hope is that the programs throughout the conference will focus on looking at what law schools can do to make a difference.


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

General networking

Attend the opening reception outdoors on the terrace at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, cruise 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

Your first stop 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 on Friday, January 6.

Health & Safety

AALS strongly encourages all participants at the AALS meeting to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear a mask at most indoor AALS events. For more details, visit am.aals.org/covid19.

COVID Guidelines

Health and safety protocols during the 2023 Annual Meeting will be guided by the advice of the CDC and the State of California. Check with the AALS website for the latest information and resources.