The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) is pleased to announce the Conference on Rebuilding Democracy and the Rule of Law, co-hosted by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The virtual, nonpartisan Conference will take place May 6-7, 2021, from 11 am – 6 pm Eastern/8 am – 3 pm Pacific.

There is a widespread sense, shared by those across the political spectrum, that crucial aspects of our democracy need reform.  Although there is surely disagreement over the nature of the problems and the best solutions, few would deny that our democracy can be improved.  The goal of the Conference is to bring together law professors, lawyers, and others with expertise to consider how to rebuild democracy and strengthen the rule of law.

The Conference will focus on four themes: (1) the presidency; (2) the electoral process; (3) race and voting rights; and (4) improving presidential elections. It will begin with a discussion of After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency with its authors Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith.

Submitted papers should address a topic that fits within one of the Conference themes, identify a problem, and propose solutions with, where possible, texts of suggested laws, regulations, or executive orders (exemplified by the Bauer/Goldsmith framework).

Eligibility: Faculty members of ABA-approved law schools, including visiting faculty whose “home” school is also an ABA-approved law school, are eligible to submit papers or abstracts. Graduates of ABA-approved law schools with knowledge of federal and/or state government as well as fellows, Visiting Assistant Professors (VAPs), and adjuncts are also eligible.

Timeline and Deadlines:

  • March 12, 2021, 5:30 pm, Eastern: Submitters who would like to be considered to present their paper at the May Conference should submit a 300-350 word abstract of their paper as a Word document to Rebuilding Democracy. Please put “May Conference Abstract” in the subject line, and include your name, position, and contact information. Submitters teaching at a law school should use their law school email. Submitters not teaching at a law school should list their law school alma mater and briefly describe the basis for their knowledge of federal and/or state government.
  • April 23, 2021, 5:30 pm, Eastern: Submitters who would like their paper to be considered for inclusion in the May Conference Record should submit an electronic version of their manuscript to Rebuilding Democracy. Please put “May Conference Manuscript” in the subject line. Submitters teaching at a law school should submit using their law school email. Submitters not teaching at a law school should list their law school alma mater and briefly describe the basis for their knowledge of federal and/or state government. Those whose manuscripts are selected to be included in the Conference record will be given additional time after the May 6-7 conference to revise their manuscript in light of the Conference discussion.

Form and Length: Each manuscript or abstract submission should be prepared using Microsoft Word. There is no minimum or maximum page or word count for manuscripts, but we will prefer shorter manuscripts over longer ones. The manuscript should be double-spaced in 12-point (or larger) type with ample (at least 1”) margins on all sides. Footnotes should be 10 point or larger, single-spaced, and preferably on the same page as the referenced text. Abstracts should not exceed 350 words.

Review of Manuscripts and Publication: A committee of legal scholars and of lawyers with knowledge of federal and/or state government will select papers to be included in the Conference Record which will be posted on the AALS website. We will also seek to formally publish the Conference proceedings and papers in a law journal.

Inquiries: Questions should be directed to Rebuilding Democracy. Please put “May Conference Inquiry” in the subject line.