Propose a Program - Annual Meeting

Proposals for 2025 AALS Programs are now open!  

Faculty engagement is at the heart of the AALS Annual Meeting. AALS Sections organize 75 percent of Annual Meeting programs; the best way to get involved is to be an active member of a section. The rest of the programs are organized by individual faculty members whose proposals are selected by AALS program committees for one of the five types of AALS programs. Each type is detailed below. 

The 2025 theme is Courage in Action. We encourage program organizers to consider the theme in framing their proposals, but it is not a requirement for submission or selection. 

Download the 2025 Submission Timeline | Questions may be directed to AALS staff.

More About…


Section Programs

AALS Sections organize 75 percent of Annual Meeting programs. Each Section has the discretion to design a program that meets the needs of its members and may have unique requirements for participation. The best way to get involved is to be an active member of a section. Joining is simple: just click here.

Section programs may be jointly sponsored with one or more other sections, as one of the most valuable features of the Annual Meeting is the ability to engage multiple constituencies on a common topic. Program formats may include: 

  • Panel presentations, for which Section organizers may choose speakers from a call for papers; 
  • Works-in-Progress, in which junior scholars receive feedback on drafts from more experienced colleagues; or 
  • Pedagogy/Alternative formats. 

Check for current Section calls for papers below.


AALS Programs & Requests for Proposals

Outside of Sections, AALS program committees select the rest of the Annual Meeting programs from proposals in two main categories: Arc of Career and Open Submission. The Open Submission category is divided into four subtypes, detailed below.  

For all AALS Programs

Programs may be proposed by full-time faculty members or administrators at AALS Member or Fee-Paid law schools. International faculty, visiting faculty (who do not retain a permanent affiliation at another law school), graduate students, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit proposals but may serve as presenters.

Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account and include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program and reflect a variety of law schools.


Arc of Career Programs

Proposals for Arc of Career Sessions at the 2025 Annual Meeting are due April 16.

The AALS Arc of Career Committee organizes programs at the Annual Meeting to address a broad spectrum of issues related to the professional careers of law faculty and administrators rather than presenting panels on substantive legal topics. For those looking forward to the future of your career, what would you like to know? For those who are more senior in your career, what would you have wanted to know as you began your career?

Arc of Career General Guidelines

There is no set format for Arc of Career programs, although most are structured as a traditional panel with 4-5 presenters followed by a question-and-answer period. AALS encourages faculty to be innovative in their proposals and to consider formats that are more interactive than the panel model.

Each program is allotted 1 hour and 30 minutes and should allow at least 30 minutes for audience participation.


Open Submission Programs

There are four types of open submission programs selected by the Program Committee for the 2025 Annual Meeting:

  1. Open Source Closed April 8
  2. Discussion Groups Closed April 8
  3. Symposium Due May 6
  4. Hot Topics Due October 14

General Guidelines for All Open Submission Proposals

Programs may be proposed by full-time faculty members or administrators at AALS Member or Fee-Paid law schools. International faculty, visiting faculty (who do not retain a permanent affiliation at another law school), graduate students, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit proposals but may serve as presenters.

Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account and include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program and reflect a variety of law schools.

A proposal for any of the four program categories should include:

  • Program title.
  • Names, affiliations, and contact information of the program organizers. 
  • Detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program; (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program; (c) a description of how diversity is achieved by the program’s speakers, content, and/or structure; and (d) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • Names, titles, and affiliations of speakers to be invited including links to or copies of their curricula vitae. The number of speakers per program or Symposium panel should be limited to a maximum of four, plus one moderator. Discussion Groups typically have between eight and twelve discussants. Speakers should represent a mix of institutional affiliations.
  • If applicable, proposals should name the journal or edited volume that will be publishing any papers that are presented. 

Open Source

These are traditional scholarly programs that may take many shapes: programs may be interdisciplinary and cut across the interests of two or more sections, address themes outside the scope of any existing section, or focus on specific issues such as recent cases or developments in a given area of law.

There is no set format. Innovation is encouraged; see below for details.

Each program is allotted 1 hour and 30 minutes and should allow 30 minutes for audience participation.

More Details

Proposals closed April 8.

Innovative proposals for programs that depart from the typical format of having speakers present 10- or 20-minute talks are encouraged. For example, Open Source proposals might offer the following:

  • A roundtable-style program in which speakers answer a series of questions posed by the moderator and the audience. 
  • A program where speakers engage in one or more role-play sessions.
  • A program that invites extended engagement with specific scholarly work, such as an “Author Meets Reader” program that discusses a significant new book, or a “Living Legend” program that invites attention to the overall work of an established scholarly figure.
  • A program that consists of short presentations coupled with questions designed to set the presentations against one another to foster debate and discussion.

In reviewing Open Source Program proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The program is likely to be of interest to Annual Meeting attendees;
  • There is a diversity of presenters, including diversity of schools, viewpoints, and backgrounds;
  • The proposal is well written and thoughtfully constructed; and
  • Junior participants will be included.

Proposals may reserve one or more spots for speakers selected from responses to a call for participation. For accepted proposals, any speakers selected from a call for participation must be identified and submitted to AALS no later than September 23, 2024.

Discussion Groups

Discussion groups are informal seminars in which a group of discussants engages in a sustained conversation about a shared topic of interest. Typically, each discussant prepares brief remarks of 3-5 minutes. Some past discussion groups have referred to these presentations as “opening statements.” These initial presentations are intended to stimulate a lively and engaging discussion that will include both the discussants and members of the audience.

Discussion Groups may be limited to a single substantive area and subject or address a broad topic. No matter how the Discussion Groups structure their topic or focus, they will ideally offer an opportunity for discussants in related fields to bring useful perspectives to the conversation.

Each session is scheduled for 1 hour and 30 minutes and should allow 30 minutes for audience participation.

More Details

Proposals closed April 8.

Discussion Group sessions should have at least six and no more than 10 invited discussants, including the moderator. Proposals should identify approximately two-thirds of the discussants and leave the remaining one-third to be selected from an open call for participation coordinated after the proposal’s acceptance. The final discussant list chosen by the organizers is subject to review and approval by the Program Committee. 

Once all discussants are identified, they should provide the organizers with one–page abstracts that preview their 3–5-minute opening remarks. Discussion Group organizers should share all discussants’ abstracts with each other and convene virtually before the Annual Meeting to finalize plans.

Organizers will serve as moderators of the Discussion Group unless another moderator is identified in the proposal. Organizers are responsible for ensuring timely communication among the discussants before the Annual Meeting.

The moderator should reserve at least 30 minutes of the program for audience members to participate in the discussion.

Symposium Programs

Symposium programs are full-day or half-day programs that conduct an in-depth exploration of a topic of academic and practical interest to the profession. The Committee is particularly interested in programs that connect to the conference theme, Courage in Action. 

Symposium organizers are encouraged to arrange for the publication of the papers in a journal or edited volume. If the Symposium is published in a student-edited law review, the AALS will waive the registration fee for up to two student editors from that law review to attend the Annual Meeting. 

More Details

Proposals close May 6.

Because Symposium sessions will run simultaneously with other programs during the Annual Meeting, attendees may attend panels more sporadically than is common for traditional symposia. For that reason, organizers should think of each symposium session as a self-contained event and must be attentive to ensuring diversity, including viewpoint diversity, in each session.

Proposals for Symposium programs may reserve one or more spots for speakers selected from responses to a call for participation. For accepted proposals, speakers selected from a call for participation must be identified no later than September 23, 2024.

In addition to following the General Submission Guidelines, Symposium proposals should include:

  • An abstract of no more than 750 words about the Symposium program and its anticipated contribution to legal scholarship.
  • A 250-word-or-less abstract for each proposed Symposium paper.
  • An indication of whether the request is for a half-day or full-day Symposium.
  • A description of any publication arrangement (or potential arrangement) for the program in a journal or edited volume.

In addition to its General Selection Guidelines, the Program Committee will consider the quality of the paper abstracts, the likelihood that the resulting papers will substantially contribute to the scholarship in the field, the success of the proposal in achieving diversity for each Symposium session and across the whole of the Symposium, and the proposal’s relationship to the conference’s annual theme.

Hot Topics

Hot Topic programs focus on topics that emerge too late in the year to be included in other types of programs. Organizers should check the preliminary Annual Meeting program on the AALS website to be sure that there is no substantial replication of the substance of a proposed hot topic program by a program already on the schedule.

More Details

Proposals close October 14.

In addition to following the General Submission Guidelines, Hot Topic proposals should include an explanation of why the topic is “hot” and why it was not possible to make the proposal in one of the other program categories with an earlier deadline. 

In addition to applying its General Selection Guidelines, the Program Committee will pay particular attention to (1) the timeliness of the proposal’s subject matter, and (2) whether the proposal’s topic substantially replicates an Annual Meeting program already on the schedule. We note that if past years are any indicator, we typically receive significantly more strong submissions for “Hot Topic” programs than we can schedule, so please recognize the competition for these important sessions.