The most unique session format at the AALS Annual Meeting, discussion group programs provide an opportunity for a small group of invited participants to engage in focused discussion on a specific topic. Explore this year’s four topics below.
Submissions closed on October 9, 2020.
Discussion Group Requirements
How the Pandemic Made Me a Better Teacher: Lessons Learned & Plans for Change
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought its share of destruction, death, and economic devastation, but during this Discussion Group, we want to focus on the lessons we have learned about ourselves as professors and how those insights can help us be better teachers for future generations of law students. We hope our discussion can be reflective and intentional about our teaching to inspire positive action from the hard lessons the pandemic has forced upon us.
Post Covid‐19 Online & Hybrid Learning Pedagogy Best Practices and Standards Development
The panel discussants will hold a conversation to discuss since the publication of the 2015 best practices and model recommendations, what have we learned? What should the community be considering now” Our goal for this discussion is to test whether there is an appetite for an updated set of best practice standards and model rules. Example discussion points: How should the ABA and regional accreditors review online law classes? How should the accreditation consider non-JD online offerings? Some law schools report status differences between faculty who teach online and residential classes. How should this status difference be approached? Some law schools heavily use adjuncts to teach online law classes. Is this a problem? If so, what steps should be taken?
Race, Racism, and the Language of Law School: The Power of Words in Shaping an Antiracist Professional Identity
Language is identity: we are what we speak. As a profession of words, lawyers do not just instantiate power—to declare, award, enjoin, arrest; we also ideologize and indoctrinate. This process of indoctrination and socialization—of professional identity formation—begins in law school. Despite differences among our institutions, we create “a very particular brand” of lawyer: an upper-class-identified, politically conservative “neutral” beholden to authority, simultaneously detached from social and moral contexts and immersed in myths of color-blindness and individual merit that obscure race and exceptionalize racism into an adversarial system of individual rights and liabilities.
Low-Tech Works: Teaching Data, Teaching Justice
Most lawyers and law students do not code or use cutting-edge technologies; many even believe themselves averse to STEM subjects. Yet contemporary law reform depends on finding evidence-based solutions for intractable justice problems. True access to justice (A2J) requires data literacy and an innovation mindset, as well as cognizance of the potential for bias in the use of algorithms and technology. How can law schools bridge this gap between STEM-aversion and the demands of contemporary legal problem solving?