Find the current due dates on Program Proposals.

Discussion Groups provide a small group of invited faculty the opportunity to engage in a sustained conversation about a topic of interest to the participants. Discussion Group sessions will not feature formal presentations. Instead, Discussion Groups will be made up of discussants who will typically each prepare a three-to-five-minute presentation (some past discussion groups have referred to these presentations as “opening statements”). These presentations are intended to stimulate a lively and engaging discussion that will include both the discussants and members of the audience.

Discussion Groups could be limited to a single substantive area and subject (e.g., “Equitable Remedies in Civil Rights Litigation”). Ideally, however, Discussion Groups will offer an opportunity for faculty in cross-cutting fields to bring useful perspectives to the conversation. For example: A Discussion Group on “Free Speech and Community Policing” could invite perspectives from multiple vantage points in addition to public and criminal law, such as critical, feminist, and/or comparative law perspectives.

Program Guidelines

Who may propose a program

Programs may be proposed by full-time faculty members or administrators at AALS Member or Fee-Paid law schools. International faculty, visiting faculty (who do not retain a permanent affiliation at another law school), graduate students, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit proposals but may serve as presenters.


A Discussion Group program should feature no fewer than 8 and no more than 12 invited participants. The proposal should identify approximately 2/3 of the participants or possible invitees, and the balance will then be invited from an open call that the AALS staff will disseminate after the proposal is accepted. As with other programs at the Annual Meeting, attendees who are not invited Discussion Group participants are welcome to attend the Discussion Group as observers. At some point during the program, the moderator should open discussion to all attendees.

For all accepted proposals, the Annual Meeting Program Committee and the AALS staff will post calls for participation and will facilitate the program organizers’ review of the submissions. The final participant list is subject to review and approval by the Program Committee. Once the participants are identified, the organizers are requested to solicit one-page abstracts from them and distribute them among the participants in advance of the meeting.

Organizers also are responsible for moderating the Discussion Group unless another moderator is identified in the proposal. Organizers are responsible for ensuring timely communication among the participants prior to the Annual Meeting, including disseminating any abstract or paper requirements and deadlines for circulating to participants.

Proposal contents

  • The program title.
  • The names and contact information of the program organizers.
  • A detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program, (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program, (c) a description of how diversity is achieved by the program’s speakers, content, and/or structure, and (d) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • Names of speakers to be invited including their full names and schools with links to or copies of their curricula vitae. The number of speakers should be limited to three (or a maximum of four) plus one moderator and should include a diversity of law schools, viewpoint, gender, race, and years of experience.
  • If applicable, name the journal or edited volume that will be publishing the program.

Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account when developing their proposals and identifying speakers. Relevant diversity considerations include but are not limited to speakers’ gender; race; years of teaching experience; faculty status (i.e., junior/senior faculty, tenured/tenure-track/clinical/non-tenure-track faculty); type of law school; geographic location; and viewpoint. To further viewpoint diversity in should include speakers who will represent a range of philosophical, ideological, doctrinal, and methodological perspectives on the program topic as framed.

Selection criteria

In reviewing Discussion Group proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The program is likely to be of interest to Annual Meeting attendees;
  • The proposal is well written and thoughtfully constructed; and
  • It includes presenters who further the diversity goals described above.

Submission dates and the submission form will be posted on the Annual Meeting website by February. Questions may be directed to AALS Discussion Groups.