San Diego’s sunny days and ocean breeze were host to 2,300 law faculty, deans, professional staff, and exhibitors who gathered January 3-6 at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting. The unifying theme of the meeting, chosen last year by 2017 AALS President Paul Marcus, was “Access to Justice.” He explained that law schools have a story to tell about their participation in closing gaps in both civil and criminal justice.
“Ours is a story less well-publicized,” he said at the time, “…I intend to tell our story to our colleagues, our students, and to judges, lawyers, and the broader community. It is quite some story.”
Welcome to the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting!
The meeting opened on Wednesday with a half-day of section programming including the first-ever meeting of the Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession, a new section approved over the summer. Newcomers also met for the Arc of Career Session for First-Time Attendees, which provided an overview of the Association’s activities as well as a guide for maximizing time spent at the Annual Meeting.
A session for first time meeting attendees with AALS President-Elect Wendy Perdue, Dean, University of Richmond School of Law; Eugene D. Mazo, Rutgers Law School; AALS President Paul Marcus, William & Mary Law School; AALS Executive Director Judy Areen; and Michael Waterstone, Dean, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (L-R).
The Exhibit Hall was open all day on Wednesday, allowing attendees to spend quality time browsing the vendors and publishers.
On Thursday, the first full day of programming began with the Opening Plenary Session “Access to Justice,” a panel of four distinguished scholars and activists moderated by Paul Marcus. The outgoing AALS President was joined by Cara H. Drinian (Catholic University of America), the Honorable S. Bernard Goodwyn (Supreme Court of Virginia), Alex R. Gulotta (Access to Justice consultant) and Martha Minow (Harvard Law and Legal Services Corporation). The panel’s discussion ranged from the lack of funding for legal services—despite those services being the most important and most-requested resource during crises—to the need for systemic overhauls of the justice system and the integration of technology into the delivery of legal services, to making room for systemic litigation in the juvenile justice system.
The opening plenary addressed the AALS 2018 theme, “Access to Justice,” led by AALS President Paul Marcus, William & Mary Law School, along with (L-R) Cara H. Drinan, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law; S. Bernard Goodwyn, Supreme Court of Virginia; Martha L. Minow, Harvard Law School; Alex R. Gulotta, access to justice consultant.
Later that afternoon, the AALS House of Representatives gathered for its first meeting, which kicked off with remarks from Paul Marcus reflecting on his Presidential year: “As people working in higher education…we have seen offered legislation and regulatory changes which would lead to dire consequences for many in our community. And, I am proud to say, your AALS has responded forcefully often and—I believe—with some real impact here.”
2017 AALS President Paul Marcus, William & Mary Law School, addresses the House of Representatives during the First Meeting along with (L-R) Elizabeth Patterson, AALS Associate Director; Leo Martinez, University of California, Hastings College of the Law; and 2018 AALS President Wendy Perdue, Dean, University of Richmond School of Law.
Executive Director Judy Areen also delivered her annual report.
Thursday closed with the opening reception in the Exhibit Hall, where attendees networked, and browsed the Hall and vendors.
Friday began with the presentation of the scholarly paper award to winner Aaron Tang (University of California, Davis) for his paper titled “Rethinking Political Power in Judicial Review.” Two additional papers were selected for Honorable Mentions: “The Lottery Docket,” by William Ortman (Wayne State) and Daniel Epps (Washington University in St Louis), and “The Jurisprudence of Mixed Motives” by Andrew Verstein (Wake Forest University).
Aaron Tang, University of California, Davis, School of Law, presents his winning paper, “Rethinking Political Power in Judicial Review,” during the AALS Scholarly Papers Competition Presentation.
Also on Friday, meeting attendees were joined by Institutional Advancement colleagues with their own day-long program.
The Institutional Advancement Program started with a dean’s panel moderated by LSAC President Kellye Testy with (L-R) Suzanne Reynolds, Dean, Wake Forest University School of Law; Michael Hunter Schwartz, Dean, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; Jennifer Mnookin, Dean, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.
At the Second Meeting of the AALS House of Representatives on Friday afternoon, Deans Darby Dickerson (John Marshall Law School) and Avi Soifer (University of Hawaii) completed their three-year terms as members of the AALS Executive Committee. Deans Mark Alexander (Villanova) and Gillian Lester (Columbia) began theirs. Professor Vicki Jackson (Harvard) began her term as President-Elect.
“We are thrilled that the three of you will be serving legal education in these significant times,” said President Paul Marcus.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Wendy Perdue officially stepped into her role as AALS President. During her address, she announced that the theme of her presidential year will be “Building Bridges.”
2018 AALS President Wendy Perdue, Dean, University of Richmond School of Law, gave her first address as president at the Second Meeting of the AALS House of Representatives on the theme for AALS 2019, “Building Bridges.”
“Lawyers are not social workers,” she said, “But they are, as Lon Fuller put it, architects of social structure. And in that role as architects, we can be enormously helpful in reconnecting a fractured world. That is to say, building bridges…”
“Society needs us to model civility and the John Marshall skill of ‘disagree-ability’…[and] to model listening skills, so that we can openly and honestly build dialogue with respect for one another’s views. And society needs us to lead the way in dispute resolution, which requires civility, listening, open mindedness and a host of other skills that are part of the lawyerly repertoire.”
The meeting drew to a close on Saturday with another full day of section programming, breakfasts, and luncheons, capped with the AALS Symposium on “Why Intellectual Diversity Matters (And What is to Be Done?).”
The first panel of the AALS Symposia addressed “Why Intellectual Diversity Matters” with (L-R) Robert J. MacCoun, Stanford Law School; Carissa Byrne Hessick, University of North Carolina School of Law; Laura K. Donohue, Georgetown University Law Center; Josh Blackman, South Texas College of Law Houston; and Randy E. Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center.
Leadership of the sections on Women in Legal Education and Clinical Legal Education were honored with the inaugural Section of the Year Award at the Section Leaders Breakfast. The winning sections were recognized for excellence in member support and other activities that promote AALS Core Values.
Chair of the Section on Women in Legal Education Kerri L. Stone, Florida International University College of Law, and Chair of the Section on Clinical Legal Education Lisa R. Bliss, Georgia State University College of Law, accept the inaugural AALS Section on the Year award on behalf of the Sections.
Running alongside the Saturday sessions was the Workshop for Pretenured Law School Teachers of Color, supported by LSAC.
Planning is already in progress for the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. We hope to see you there!
Thank you to all AALS sections, chairs, panel moderators and speakers, and planning committees for your contributions to the programming, planning, and organizational aspects of the Annual Meeting that combined to make it a success.
Program Committee for the 2018 Annual Meeting
CARA DRINAN, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
STEVE MULROY, The University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Chair
DONNA NAGY, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
GEOFF RAPP, University of Toledo College of Law
MARIE REILLY, The Pennsylvania State University – Penn State Law
Other Planning Committees for the 2018 Annual Meeting
Committee on Arc of Career Programs
Committee to Review Scholarly Papers for the 2018 Annual Meeting
2018 Deans Forum Workshop
2018 Workshop for Pretenured Law School Teachers of Color