"The state of legal training is excellent," says the new president of the Law School Association

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<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Vicki Jackson, a professor at Harvard Law School, will be president of the Association of American Law Schools in 2019. Photo: Association of American Law Schools

The mood may be downright cheerful this week when more than 2,200 law academics gather in New Orleans for the annual meeting of the Association of American Law School – not just because of the libations from Bourbon Street.

Unlike recent meetings, when law professors were confronted with the reason why students remained en masse, teachers this year can determine whether the 8% increase in the number of applications to law schools in 2018 means that the reputation of the legal academy has turned. Law.com met with Vicki Jackson, Harvard law professor, who will assume the association's presidency in 2019, to discuss his goals for the coming year and the perspectives of law schools. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you think more people are interested in legal education right now?

I guess it's a multifactorial phenomenon. I think that many of the new students I've come to know see the law school as an effective way to promote change. It's probably only part of the photo, but an important part.

What is the state of legal education today? It looks like a year of transition.

Overall, I think the legal training is excellent. I want to talk about two aspects. First, we have fortunately found increasing interest. The pool of candidates has increased by about 8% and the workforce by about 3%. I think these are two very good numbers. Schools are acting cautiously to respond to this interest.

My second point concerns the huge state of innovation, public service and volunteer work in the country's law schools. This phenomenon is not limited to a segment of legal education institutions in this country. I see a wealth of innovation and commitment to volunteer work that reflects the tremendous change that legal education has undergone since I was in law school in the mid-1970s.

What is your presidential theme for the coming year?

My theme is something that matters to me a lot. "Pillars of democracy: law, representation and knowledge". I would like to talk about the central role of lawyers in building and maintaining American constitutional democracy. From the foundation, when there were many lawyers at the Constitutional Convention and at the first Congress, until today, when we continue to see a large number of lawyers sitting in Congress , as president, and when we look at state governments. The three pillars I want to talk about: the law, the elections and a fair system of representation, and what I call "knowledge institutions," all face a series of challenges. They all need the work of lawyers and law schools to make healthy progress in the future.

Are you trying to encourage the legal academy to become more involved? If so, what role should he play?

I think that one area to which we, as a faculty, should reflect both in our scholarship and in teaching our students, is the way in which we think more holistically of the world. ecology of elections. An example of elections and representation is our time spent researching and teaching judgment as law professors. I think we very strictly describe the normative objectives of judges. We have different theories. We disagree with each other. But behind this, there is a commitment to the ideal that we should develop normative norms to evaluate the work of judges. But in the case of other constitutional actors – elected representatives, president, state governors, state legislators – we have much less to say about how to evaluate their work. This seems to benefit from a deeper work and a greater involvement of our students.

In your opinion, what are the other highlights of the annual meeting?

There are some great programs not to be missed. The first is the opening plenary session on Thursday morning. This is "Building Bridges", which is also the theme of this year's meeting, chosen by Dean Wendy Perdue of the University of Richmond. Dean Perdue and Edwin Cameron, a world-renowned judge at the South African Constitutional Court, will participate in the opening session. They will discuss his work during his lifetime against apartheid and for human rights and the rule of law.

The second program I would not want to miss is a program on law and reconciliation, which is also Thursday morning. He will explore the legal processes that involve healing, forgiveness and restoration of the community. It is led by former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow.

There is a Saturday panel on criminal justice reform and a number of panels on sexual harassment. There is a discussion group called "#MeToo: The Court, Academy and Law Firms". This should be quite interesting because it crosses spaces that are often discussed separately.

What do you think is the role of the AALS?

I think the role is mainly to help our member schools achieve excellence in their studies and teaching and in the functioning of their institutions. I see ourselves as having a supporting role. The annual meeting is an important means of facilitating relationships between new researchers, older researchers and researchers working in different fields. It is also a way to improve our understanding of the teaching and the situation of our students. In my opinion, the annual meeting is a symbol of our commitment to help our members do what they are worth.

I also think that the AALS has a role to play. One of them relates to the efforts made by former AALS presidents and executive director, Judith Areen, to find and develop a ground of understanding between the academy, the bar and the bench. This is an important initiative. A second aspect is to create links with the rest of higher education. "Data-reactid =" 18 "> Professor Vicki Jackson of Harvard Law School will assume the position of President of the Association of American Law Schools in 2019. Photo: Association of American Law Schools

The mood may be downright cheerful this week when more than 2,200 law academics gather in New Orleans for the annual meeting of the Association of American Law School – not just because of the libations from Bourbon Street.

Unlike recent meetings, when law professors were confronted with the reason why students remained en masse, teachers this year can determine whether the 8% increase in the number of applications to law schools in 2018 means that the reputation of the legal academy has turned. Law.com met with Vicki Jackson, Harvard law professor, who will assume the association's presidency in 2019, to discuss his goals for the coming year and the perspectives of law schools. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you think more people are interested in legal education right now?

I guess it's a multifactorial phenomenon. I think that many of the new students I've come to know see the law school as an effective way to promote change. It's probably only part of the photo, but an important part.

What is the state of legal education today? It looks like a year of transition.

Overall, I think the legal training is excellent. I want to talk about two aspects. First, we have fortunately found increasing interest. The pool of candidates has increased by about 8% and the workforce by about 3%. I think these are two very good numbers. Schools are acting cautiously to respond to this interest.

My second point concerns the huge state of innovation, public service and volunteer work in the country's law schools. This phenomenon is not limited to a segment of legal education institutions in this country. I see a wealth of innovation and commitment to volunteer work that reflects the tremendous change that legal education has undergone since I was in law school in the mid-1970s.

What is your presidential theme for the coming year?

My theme is something that matters to me a lot. "Pillars of democracy: law, representation and knowledge". I would like to talk about the central role of lawyers in building and maintaining American constitutional democracy. From the foundation, when there were many lawyers at the Constitutional Convention and at the first Congress, until today, when we continue to see a large number of lawyers sitting in Congress , as president, and when we look at state governments. The three pillars I want to talk about: the law, the elections and a fair system of representation, and what I call "knowledge institutions," all face a series of challenges. They all need the work of lawyers and law schools to make healthy progress in the future.

Are you trying to encourage the legal academy to become more involved? If so, what role should he play?

I think that one area to which we, as a faculty, should reflect both in our scholarship and in teaching our students, is the way in which we think more holistically of the world. ecology of elections. An example of elections and representation is our time spent researching and teaching judgment as law professors. I think we very strictly describe the normative objectives of judges. We have different theories. We disagree with each other. But behind this, there is a commitment to the ideal that we should develop normative norms to evaluate the work of judges. But in the case of other constitutional actors – elected representatives, president, state governors, state legislators – we have much less to say about how to evaluate their work. This seems to benefit from a deeper work and a greater involvement of our students.

In your opinion, what are the other highlights of the annual meeting?

There are some great programs not to be missed. The first is the opening plenary session on Thursday morning. This is "Building Bridges", which is also the theme of this year's meeting, chosen by Dean Wendy Perdue of the University of Richmond. Dean Perdue and Edwin Cameron, a world-renowned judge at the South African Constitutional Court, will participate in the opening session. They will discuss his work during his lifetime against apartheid and for human rights and the rule of law.

The second program I would not want to miss is a program on law and reconciliation, which is also Thursday morning. He will explore the legal processes that involve healing, forgiveness and restoration of the community. It is led by former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow.

There is a Saturday panel on criminal justice reform and a number of panels on sexual harassment. There is a discussion group called "#MeToo: The Court, Academy and Law Firms". This should be quite interesting because it crosses spaces that are often discussed separately.

What do you think is the role of the AALS?

I think the role is mainly to help our member schools achieve excellence in their studies and teaching and in the functioning of their institutions. I see ourselves as having a supporting role. The annual meeting is an important means of facilitating relationships between new researchers, older researchers and researchers working in different fields. It is also a way to improve our understanding of the teaching and the situation of our students. In my opinion, the annual meeting is a symbol of our commitment to help our members do what they are worth.

I also think that the AALS has a role to play. One of them relates to the efforts made by former AALS presidents and executive director, Judith Areen, to find and develop a ground of understanding between the academy, the bar and the bench. This is an important initiative. A second aspect is to create links with the rest of higher education.