Former Georgetown Law Dean Judith Areen has been named the seventh president of the Association of American Law Schools. Areen led Georgetown's law school from 1989 to 2004 (and served as interim dean in 2010.) She has served as the interim director of the AALS since last fall, stepping in to replace Susan Prager. This is an interesting time for the AALS, an organization that has emphasized the importance of legal scholarship within law schools. As readers of this blog know, the importance of legal scholarship is being increasingly contested (particularly when it is seen as hiking the cost of legal education.)
Will the organization continue it's scholarly emphasis even if some members deemphasize scholarship? The AALS has always been something of an odd duck. It is formally an association of schools, promoting institutional priorities, but also functions as law professors' scholarly society - much like APSA and the MLA. I wonder whether these two functions might be in tension around the issue of scholarship.
Areen has thought seriously about the structure and governance of legal education. She seems particularly well equipped for the job.