Monday, January 4, 2021
As our legal academy readers know, this week features the annual conference of the Association of American Law Schools ("AALS"), the professional association for law schools and their faculty and staff. I am sure many of us will publish posts now and later about the conference and its varied programs. I focus today on the Section on Leadership, of which my Dean (Doug Blaze) is the current chair. Doug has been among the national leaders in the movement to teach leadership in law schools. Among other things, he was a founder of the section and of the Institute for Professional Leadership at UT Law (of which I am the current Interim Director).
I highlight two things in this post.
First, the Fall 2020 section newsletter deserves attention. The entire issue focuses on racism. It includes a number of short articles written by a variety of contributors, including (but not limited to) law professors. Tony Thompson, Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law, introduces the issue, referencing the events that catapulted racism and racial injustice into the legal news and public eye in meaningful ways earlier this year. He writes: "T]he public protests have . . . sparked . . . a relentless insistence that we acknowledge the stark reality that racism infects every system in this country. We as lawyers, as law teachers, as people who care about justice must actively work toward a genuine reckoning on race and racism in this country." Among the contributions are articles written by Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a prep school student from Newark, New Jersey, and our Visiting Leadership Fellow at UT Law, David Gibbs. The issue makes for thought-provoking end-of-year reading and inspires leadership on race issues in and through law teaching (among many other things).
Second, I want to promote the four programs sponsored or co-sponsored by the AALS Section on Leadership. They are listed below.
- Calling Out and Leaning In to Racial and Class Inequities in Experiential Learning Opportunities (Wednesday, January 6, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm)
- Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste; The Pedagogy of Leadership During Crisis—Student Engagement (Thursday, January 7, 11:00 am - 12:15 pm)
- Legal and Judicial Ethics in the Post-#MeToo World (Thursday, January 7, 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm)
- Teaching Leadership Skills in a Time of Crisis (Saturday, January 9, 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm)
I have the honor of presenting a short "idea paper" on teaching change leadership to law students at the Thursday morning session. I hope that you will join me in attending some or all of these programs if you are registered to attend the conference. Our students are the legal and community leaders of tomorrow. Studying and practicing leadership in law school can help them to see their leadership potential, harness it, and use it constructively in and outside law practice.
The entire program for this year's AALS annual meeting can be found here.