AALS President Lauren K. Robel’s, Indiana University, theme for the 2013 Annual Meeting is Global Engagement and the Legal Academy. At this annual meeting, the Association of American Law Schools goes global. As the legal academy’s learned society, AALS invites engagement with the intellectual, theoretical, pedagogical, professional, and collegial opportunities and challenges that globalization presents.
Theoretically, those challenges include, among many others, the limits of sovereignty and the reach of regulation in a globalized economy; the effects of supranational organizations on national enforcement regimes; the increasingly strategic interactions between individuals and nongovernmental organizations and the supranational; the impact of proliferating sources of law; and the development of new fields of legal knowledge that address all of these issues. Pedagogically, our challenges include how to prepare our students to recognize and analyze transnational legal issues; how to build the global into the curriculum; how to teach effectively to globally diverse student bodies; how to develop cultural competencies for practice; how to provide cross-boundary professional opportunities; and how to do all of this in a time of cost constraints. Professionally and collegially, we face questions of how best to build effective and respectful relationships and collaborations with legal academics, institutions, and scholarly organizations in other countries and how to determine what ethical engagement with the traditions in other countries entails.
As AALS considers its role as a scholarly membership organization in supporting the global engagement of its members, this annual meeting will provide opportunities to define and expand our understanding of our shared needs in a globalized world.