Professional headshot
Judith Areen
Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer

Dear Colleague, 

It is my privilege to welcome you to the Association and to the law teaching profession. We are absolutely delighted that you are here.  

Established in 1900, AALS is an Association of 176 member and 18 fee-paid law schools. Our mission is to uphold and enhance excellence in legal education. As the learned society for legal education, we are also very much your organization.

Over the years, many law faculty members have benefited from the work accomplished under the AALS umbrella. Our involvement has connected us to faculty beyond our home law schools and has led to career-enriching collaborations in both scholarship and teaching. 

AALS values and expects its membership to value: 

  1. a faculty composed primarily of full-time teacher-scholars who constitute a self-governing intellectual community engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about law, legal processes, and legal systems, and who are devoted to fostering justice and public service in the legal community; 
  2. academic freedom;
  3. diversity of viewpoints;
  4. excellent scholarship and teaching;
  5. a rigorous academic program built upon strong teaching and a dynamic curriculum that is both broad and deep;
  6. a diverse faculty hired, promoted, and retained based on meeting and supporting high standards of teaching and scholarship and in accordance with principles of non-discrimination; 
  7. competent and professional staff to support the mission of the law school;
  8. selection of students based upon intellectual ability and potential for success in the study and practice of law, through a fair and non-discriminatory process designed to produce a diverse student body and a broadly representative legal profession.; and
  9. honesty, integrity, and professionalism in dealing with students, faculty, staff, the public, and the Association.

Association activities encompass many areas that may be of interest to you, particularly our professional development programs for law faculty including the annual Workshop for New Law School Teachers held in Washington, DC each spring. Detailed information on the professional development schedule for the coming academic year can be found on our website

AALS hosts more than 100 Sections for law school faculty, administrators, and staff that are organized around various academic disciplines, affinity groups, and areas of professional interest. I encourage you as a new law teacher to join one or more sections in order to connect with colleagues across the country. You may particularly be interested in the Section on New Law Professors and the Section on Teaching Methods.

Sections engage their membership throughout the year. Most sections host email discussion groups where members have conversations about the latest developments and scholarship in their field. Section leaders also keep members informed through newsletters and organize webinars on timely topics. Many sections also host annual awards, offer mentorship programs for early career faculty, produce works-in-progress programs, and compile teaching resources, among other activities. Sections also plan most of the programs at the Annual Meeting.

The 2025 Annual Meeting will be in San Francisco, Tuesday, January 7 through Saturday, January 11, 2025. The meeting is packed with section programs and sessions from calls for papers, including some based on this year’s theme “Courage in Action,” selected by AALS President Melanie Wilson.

Faculty report that perhaps the most important part of the Annual Meeting is the opportunity to meet colleagues informally and to develop ongoing interactions with them over the years. In the results of a survey sent to all attendees after the 2024 meeting, 92.1 percent of faculty reported that the programs and other events provided useful ideas for their scholarship, and 88.2 percent of faculty reported that the programs provided useful ideas for their teaching.

AALS also sponsors a Scholarly Papers Competition for those who have been teaching law for five years or less.

The Association’s Journal of Legal Education, published quarterly and distributed to all law faculty, is an excellent platform for the exchange of ideas and information about legal education, legal scholarship, and innovative teaching. The Journal is currently co-edited at American University, Washington College of Law, and University of California, Irvine School of Law. The Association also co-sponsors the Clinical Law Review.

The AALS Directory of Law Teachers is available year-round online and is published annually. Your dean’s office can assist in ensuring that you are included in the Directory listings. 

As you begin your career in law teaching and are understandably focused on developing your own courses and advancing your scholarly agenda, I encourage you to make time for AALS as well. This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a long, productive, and satisfying career. 


Judith Areen
Executive Director