Moderator & Speaker Guidelines – Annual Meeting

Please read these guidelines for moderating and speaking at AALS Annual Meeting sessions. This information will help you prepare for a successful session and guide you onsite at the meeting. See the Moderators & Speakers FAQ for answers to common questions.

If you have presentation materials or handouts, we would be happy to post them. To ensure that all visitors will be able to access your materials/handouts, Microsoft offers instructions on how to make your files (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) accessible. In addition, Adobe provides accessibility directions for PDF documents.

At your convenience, submit your presentation/materials using our online submission form prior to the start of the meeting or after the meeting is over we will post them. PDF files are preferable.

Session room facilities

Meeting Room setup

The standard meeting room set up for a session includes:

  • Theatre seating (rows of chairs facing front of room with center aisle)
  • Head table and podium
  • Tent cards with names of moderator and each of the presenters

For Works-In-Progress sessions, the room set up includes:

  • Round tables set for 10 persons each
  • One standing podium

For Discussion Groups, the room set up includes:

  • Conference table seating (one table with seats around all sides) for the number of Discussion Group participants
  • Tent cards with names of Discussion Group moderator and each of the Discussion Group participants
  • Limited perimeter seating for audience members to observe the discussion on a first-come, first-served basis

For day-long programs, the room set up includes:

  • Schoolroom seating (rows of narrow tables for notetaking with chairs facing front of a room; center aisle)
  • Head table and podium
  • Tent cards with names of moderator and each of the presenters

A/V setup

Each session meeting room except Works-In-Progress and Discussion Groups is equipped with the following:

  • LCD projector/screen. Please read below for troubleshooting connection issues.
  • Audio patch to connect to house sound for video or music presentations.
  • Complimentary hotel WiFi. If you are planning an internet-based presentation, we recommend you download your presentation in advance. A high volume of users at the meeting may cause a slow connection on the hotel WiFi.
  • One podium, and microphones for speakers on head table.
  • One standing microphone on the floor in center aisle for audience Q&A.

Laptops are NOT provided at the meeting. You must bring your own device or arrange to share one with another presenter. Please note that Macs, Surfaces, and tablets all require an adaptor to connect to the meeting projector, which is VGA. You are responsible for bringing a VGA adaptor compatible with your device. PC laptops do not require adaptors. If you are not bringing a PC laptop and do not own an appropriate adaptor, we recommend checking with your school’s library or IT team to find out if there is one available to borrow or where you can purchase one.

Before the Meeting

Coordinating with other presenters

We recommend that moderators and presenters follow this basic timeline in order to have the most successful and organized program possible at the Annual Meeting. Please be sure to keep AALS informed of the addition or cancellation of presenters.

At least 6 weeks before the Annual Meeting, Moderators should:

  • Contact and introduce yourself to your fellow presenters,
  • Request a paper or electronic copy of each presentation; and
  • Request a 2-3 sentence biographical sketch for introductions.

At least 2 weeks before the Annual Meeting, Moderators should:

  • Arrange for presenters to upload their PowerPoint presentations onto one speaker’s designated laptop. AALS does not provide laptops.
  • Determine the order of the presentations.
  • Ask presenters to arrive 15 minutes prior to the session start time.
  • Ask them to be available to attendees following the session to continue answering questions outside the meeting room.

When you are at the meeting:

  • All presenters should meet at least 15 minutes before the session begins. With only a brief break between sessions, it is important to arrive promptly so your session can start on time and utilize the entire block allotted to you.
  • The moderator(s) should brief everyone on the format of the session and how it will be conducted, including whether they plan to use timer cards or simply stand up to the side of the presenter in order to signal when it is time to conclude.

During the session

Please be sure to plan time to visit AALS Registration to pick up your name badge and program materials before you attend or speak at your session.

Time management

Managing time (and speakers) during a session can be challenging. To help moderators stay on track, consider the following:

Most sessions are 95 minutes in length. We recommend that you plan for five minutes of brief introductions, 15 minutes of Q&A at the end, and 15 minutes if holding a business meeting to elect officers. This gives four presenters about 15 minutes each for their presentations.

If the length of your session or the number of presenters is different from this example, adjust the timing of presentations accordingly. Timer cards will be provided at the head table for moderators to signal when five, two, and one minutes are left, and when time is up. Moderators may also want to consider designating another person as the time keeper.

Taking questions

We recommend waiting until the end of the session to do a combined Q&A with all presenters. Moderators should be ready with a few questions for each presenter to encourage audience participation, if necessary. For the benefit of all attendees and for the audio recording, please:

  • Use the microphone,
  • Ask speakers during Q&A to state their name, and
  • Repeat questions posed from the floor.

Concluding the session

We encourage moderators to provide a brief summary of the session at its conclusion and thank the speakers for presenting. Encourage attendees to evaluate the session on the Mobile App.


Your session will be recorded. AALS makes a digital audio recording of every session; after the meeting they will be available to download as free recordings. If you want to decline to be recorded, please sign and return the   Recording Opt-Out Form before the meeting and email to Cara McQuitty.

Assistance inside the room

Each session is assigned a law student monitor. The monitor will also provide the name tent cards along with pen and paper for any last-minute presenter changes. You will find an announcement script at the podium; we ask moderators to use it during your session introduction.

Registration & Housing

Registering for the Annual Meeting

The easiest way to register for the Annual Meeting is through our secure online registration system. You will receive an email confirmation of your registration. Please contact AALS Registration or visit the registration FAQs if you have any questions.

We recommend that you register as soon as possible. If you register on or before November 14, you will receive an early bird discount on your rate.

Hotel Reservations

For information regarding housing and hotel reservations at the Annual Meeting, visit the Hotels page. Please contact AALS Registration if you have any questions.