The AALS, whose mission is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education, is a nonprofit association of 176 law schools. As a membership organization, the AALS’s purpose is to support and encourage member schools in improving legal education. AALS membership requirements are focused on the core values of faculty scholarship, teaching, governance, and diversity. Membership requirements are specified in the AALS Bylaws and Executive Committee Regulations (see AALS Handbook, below).
Every ten years AALS member schools are visited by a site team representing the AALS and the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is the national accrediting body for law schools. The AALS membership review process is meant to complement, not duplicate, the ABA’s accreditation process.
In preparation for a site visit, a school will complete an AALS site questionnaire. This questionnaire seeks information relevant to the core values of the AALS that will assist the AALS reporter, Membership Review Committee, and Executive Committee in the membership review process. The AALS Membership Review Committee uses the site visit reports along with the completed AALS questionnaire to assess a school’s compliance with AALS membership requirements and core values.
For more information on the Membership Review process, please consult materials below from the Site Evaluation Workshop at the AALS Annual Meeting. For information about the membership application process, including staff review and the responsibilities of the consultant on readiness, see Membership Application Information below.
A member school that contemplates a significant change in its operation should report its plans and undergo review. A significant change in operation means a major institutional change, including, but not limited to, the following: creating a new full- or part-time Juris Doctor program; creating a new division; establishing a branch or other separate location; relocating a school’s principal campus to a new and substantially different site; transferring in whole or part of the school and its program to a new entity; merging with a university or education entity that had not previously been affiliated with the school; creating or affiliating with a related or subsidiary education entity to provide legal education; or closing a school or a related or subsidiary education entity.
For more information on reporting a Change of Operation, please see Executive Committee Regulation 8.2.
For information about the membership application process, including staff review and the responsibilities of the consultant on readiness, please email Membership Review.
Bylaw and Executive Committee Regulations pertaining to membership, interpretive principles related to membership requirements, and memoranda summarizing membership procedures are below.
Membership Application Information (PDF)
Interpretive Principles to Guide Religiously Affiliated Member Schools as They Implement Bylaw 6-3 (a) and Executive Committee Regulation 6-3.1
AALS Questionnaire (2020-2021) (Word)
AALS Annual Meeting Site Evaluation Workshop Materials
ABA Section of Legal Education