January 7 – 11, 2025
San Francisco • #AALS2025
Lawyers are, and have always been, courageous advocates who exercise a steadfast commitment to justice in the face of unpopular views and controversy. We represent minoritized clients against oppression. We represent those without means and those who are bullied. We pursue positive social change.
Law professors similarly display and model courage every day in an ever-changing classroom that reflects the tensions and schisms in society outside the walls of learning. Professors hold immense influence. We facilitate opportunities for the next generation of great lawyers. As law teachers, we open minds and prepare change makers.
No matter how we define courage, our roles as law teachers and law scholars demand it.
Each of you is acting with courage in your teaching, scholarly pursuits, and service to law schools and universities, as well as in your communities.
My challenge to all of us is to continue that important work. Let’s continue to build courage in ourselves and to urge others—our colleagues, campus partners, students, staff members, and alumni—to be courageous. Let’s continue to speak with a courageous voice of reason, using our platforms to oppose injustice in our daily lives—when it matters most.
Courage is in all of us. But we have to activate it. We have to practice it and model it for our students.
One of the many reasons I chose Courage in Action for this year’s theme is the many interesting program and presentation possibilities it provides.
Deans might explore when courage requires them to speak publicly and when it dictates silence in the face of demands and pressure to speak. Conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and access have always required courage. I can envision ongoing discussions on courage in admissions, as we continue to navigate the law school world since the UNC-Harvard Supreme Court decision.
Every section of the AALS could benefit from a discussion about their work and courage, and I look forward to the creative programming they develop, as well as interesting Hot Topics and other panels and discussions that will flow from our focus on courage.