As a citizen of the Cherokee nation, Rennard Strickland was a renowned leader in Native American Law. He earned his B.A. from Northeastern State University and his M.A. from the University of Arkansas. He earned his LLB. and S.J.D. from the University of Virginia. He was part of the legal academy for decades and served as dean of four law schools throughout his career: The University of Tulsa, Southern Illinois University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oregon. He was a senior scholar in residence in the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Additionally, he was the author, editor, or co-editor of 208 essays, book chapters, and articles as well as 47 books. Throughout his career, Strickland received many awards and honors such as the Robert J. Kutack Award by the ABA Section in 2013. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 1997. Strickland was the first person to serve as the president of both the Law School Admission Council and the Association of American Law Schools.
Strickland’s service with the AALS began in 1975 when he became editor of the then jointly published LSAC/AALS Prelaw Handbook, which he edited for the next five years. He was on the AALS Executive Committee from 1993-1995 and was the President of AALS in 1994. Strickland was the first Native American professor to hold this position. In 2000, he served on the Advisory Group on Celebration of AALS Centennial. Additionally, he has served as a member of the AALS Accreditation Committee, the Journal of Legal Education Editorial Board, the Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers, chair of the Section on Native American Rights, and as a speaker at a number of AALS workshops.
Deborah L. Rhode, a pioneer of legal ethics, received a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University, and while in law school she was the editor of the Yale Law Journal. She joined the faculty of Stanford Law School in 1979, being just the second woman to be granted tenure. She was the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and director of the Center on the Legal Profession. Prior to joining the Stanford Law faculty, she clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. She was a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and the founding president of the International Association of Legal Ethics. Her works on legal ethics are frequently cited, and she is the author of 30 books.
Professor Rhode served AALS in many capacities over the years. She was a member of the AALS Executive Committee from 1994-1999, and she served as President of AALS in 1998. She was the chair of the Section on Leadership in 2017 and 2018 and served on the Committee for the 2016 Annual Meeting. Additionally, she was a frequent contributor to the Journal of Legal Education and established the AALS Commission on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities. The Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities Section created the Deborah L. Rhode Award, which was first presented at the 2001 Annual Meeting.
AALS remembers both Rennard Strickland and Deborah L. Rhode for their commitment and lasting impact to not only AALS, but the entire legal academy and legal profession.