Testy will join AALS in July 2024
Washington, DC (January 11, 2024) – The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) announced the appointment of Kellye Y. Testy to the position of Executive Director and CEO, effective July 1, 2024. Testy is currently the President and CEO of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). She succeeds Judy Areen, who is retiring after serving as Executive Director for the past 10 years.
“Kellye’s long and successful record as a respected leader in legal education makes her an ideal selection for this important position,” said 2023 AALS President Mark Alexander, the Arthur J. Kania Dean of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. “Her collaborative leadership style and commitment to innovation and excellence are well-known across the legal academy, and we are thrilled to bring her talents to AALS.”
“I am deeply honored to have been chosen as Judy Areen’s successor and am committed to advancing excellence in legal education at a time of heightened challenges and changes in law and higher education,” said Testy. “The long-standing collaboration between LSAC and AALS and the impressive histories and strengths of both organizations will ensure a smooth transition in July. In the meantime, I am so privileged to continue building the future of justice at LSAC alongside our devoted Board, engaged member schools and prelaw community members, and talented management team and staff.”
Testy served as Dean and Professor of Law at University of Washington School of Law from 2009 to 2017 and at Seattle University School of Law from 2005 to 2009. She began her career as a law professor at the University of Puget Sound in 1992, which then became Seattle University. As a professor, Testy was an award-winning teacher and an insightful scholar who brought an equity lens to her focus on business and corporate law. Her areas of expertise include leadership, business and corporate law, gender and the law, and legal education.
As AALS President in 2016, Testy selected the theme Why Law Matters, as she shared then, “to bring out the best of the academy, to turn our vision outward to the world we serve, and to explore – at a fundamental level – why what we do matters in meeting all of the challenges of our current social environment.”
In addition to her service as AALS President, Testy has served AALS in many ways over the years. She was a member of the AALS Executive Committee from 2012 to 2017 and served on the Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Law Teachers and Students from 2007 to 2009. She also chaired the planning committee for the AALS Workshop for New Law School Teachers in 2010.
At LSAC, Testy built a team of highly skilled leaders and a multi-year strategic plan that well positions the organization for the future. She led the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to online testing and ushering in several innovations that remain today. Under her leadership since 2017, LSAC has become more agile in proactively supporting law candidates and schools, serving as a hub and beacon for legal education. Testy has a long history of working with legal education leaders, deans, and admission professionals to help advance law schools and their faculty and staff. Over the past seven years, LSAC and AALS have partnered on research projects aimed at understanding prospective law students, professional development and support for law school deans, and other initiatives for the benefit of legal education.
“After a robust national search for the next leader of AALS, we were fortunate to have a strong pool of highly qualified candidates,” said Kevin Washburn, Dean of the University of Iowa College of Law, AALS Executive Committee member, and chair of the search committee. “However, Kellye stood out for her deep and ongoing engagement nationally with legal education and the AALS as well as her successful record achieving ambitious goals with an inclusive and humble leadership style.”
“Kellye Testy is an inspired and outstanding choice to lead AALS as Executive Director,” said Melanie Wilson, 2024 AALS President, and Dean of Washington and Lee University School of Law. “Kellye brings vision, experience, optimism, and a deep commitment to inclusion and equity to the position at a time when legal education and the AALS need a capable leader of her caliber.”
“I am thrilled that Kellye Testy will be the next Executive Director of AALS, following Judy Areen’s superb leadership,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, 2022 AALS President, and Dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. “Kellye brings tremendous experience as a dean of two law schools, as a former president of AALS, and as a very successful leader of LSAC. I have worked with Kellye for many years, and she is a person with great judgment and impeccable integrity.”
“What terrific news! The Executive Committee could not have selected a better or more qualified person to lead the Association than Kellye,” said Judy Areen, AALS Executive Director. “It is wonderful that she has agreed to take on this role because I know she will be great for AALS and for all of legal education. I have had the opportunity in some of our joint projects in recent years to see that she leads with vision, energy, and warmth. In short, the future of AALS is in very good hands.”
The Association of American Law Schools (AALS), founded in 1900, is a nonprofit association of 176 member and 18 fee-paid law schools. Its members enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. The mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve its many communities—local, national and international.