Submit a Program Proposal - Annual Meeting

Faculty engagement is at the heart of the AALS Annual Meeting. There are two primary ways to participate: submitting proposals through an AALS Section (who organize 75 percent of Annual Meeting programs) or submitting proposals as an individual faculty member. Each type of programming is detailed below.

The 2021 theme is “The Power of Words.” We encourage program organizers to consider the theme in framing their proposals, but it is not a requirement for submission or selection.

Download the  2021 Submission Timeline

Questions may be directed to AALS staff.


Programming Sponsored by AALS Sections

Sections play a critical role in developing the Annual Meeting: 75 percent of Annual Meeting programs are organized by Sections. 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.

More details

General Guidelines

All section programs are allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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.

AALS encourages sections to consider jointly sponsoring a program 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. Joint programs tend to be the most well-attended.

Sample programming offered by sections

  • Panels: This format involves 3 or 4 speakers presenting work on a common theme. A Section’s leaders may issue a call for papers to select speakers. Contact section leadership if you have an idea for a panel. The leaders of each Section are easy to find on the aals.org section page.
  • Works-in-Progress: This format provides the opportunity for junior scholars to present their drafts and to obtain feedback from their colleagues. Sections are free to determine the manner in which these sessions are structured. Some opt for a more traditional panel format; others provide a number of round tables hosting one junior scholar and a number of others who have volunteered to read and offer feedback on their work. Each section has discretion to choose the format it prefers.
  • Pedagogy/Alternative formats: Sections may choose other formats for the annual meeting. For example, sessions on pedagogy often follow a format in which hypotheticals are posed to the audience with 3 or 4 panelists whose role is to guide the discussion.

Individual Faculty Programming Submissions

Outside of Sections, faculty can engage in the Annual Meeting via open submission programs and Arc of Career Programs. Both are discussed in more detail below.

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.

Open Submission Programs

There are four types of open submission programs:

  1. Open Source (closed April 12)
  2. Discussion Groups (closed April 12)
  3. Symposium (closed May 10)
  4. Hot Topics (due October 18)

Option 1: Open Source

These are traditional scholarly programs. Diverse topics are encouraged. For example: programming on a specific body of work, such as “Author Meets Reader” to discuss a significant new book; a “Living Legend” program that focuses on the overall work of an established scholarly figure; etc.

The AALS Program Committee solicits open source program topics early in February via a request for proposals. Faculty respond by completing the submission form found on the AALS website.

General Guidelines

  • Format: There is no set format for open source programming. While some use a traditional panel-style presentation, others have opted to use more interactive models, such as a roundtable program in which participants answer a series of questions posed by the moderator and the audience. AALS encourages faculty to be innovative in their proposals.
  • Length: Each program is allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

More details

Proposals closed April 12

Open Source Programs are traditional scholarly programs other than those proposed by an AALS Section.

Program Guidelines
Who may propose a program:

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.

Proposal contents:
  • The program title.
  • The names and contact information of the program organizers.
  • A detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program, (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program, and (c) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • Proposals for Open Source programs may reserve one or more spots for participants selected from a call for participation. Generally, participants selected from a call for participation must be identified by late September.
  • Names of speakers to be invited including their full names and schools with links to or copies of their curricula vitae. The number of speakers should be limited to three (or a maximum of four) plus one moderator and should include a diversity of law schools, viewpoint, gender, race, and years of experience
  • If applicable, name the journal or edited volume that will be publishing the program.

Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account when developing their proposal. Organizers are also encouraged to include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program as well as representation from a wide range of types of law schools.

Selection criteria

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.

Option 2: Discussion Groups

Discussion groups are informal seminars with a small group of invited faculty discussing a topic proposed by the organizer. There are no subject matter limitations.

The AALS Program Committee solicits open source program topics early in February via a request for proposals. Faculty respond by completing the submission form found on the AALS website.

General Guidelines

  • Format: A discussion group features no fewer than 8 and no more than 15 invited participants; 12 invited is the preferred maximum. The organizer should include in the proposal 2/3 of the participants, with the balance to be invited from an additional “open call for participants” after the proposal is accepted.
  • Length: Each program is allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes.

More details

Proposals closed April 12

Discussion Groups provide a small group of invited faculty the opportunity to engage in a sustained conversation about a topic of interest to the participants. Discussion Group sessions will not feature formal presentations. Participants will typically be expected to write and share a short presentation summary (3-5 pages) as part of their participation. These written summaries are intended to facilitate a lively and engaging real-time round table discussion among the participants.

Discussion Groups could be limited to a single substantive area and subject (e.g., “Equitable Remedies in Civil Rights Litigation”). Ideally, however, Discussion Groups will offer an opportunity for faculty in cross-cutting fields to bring useful perspectives to the conversation. For example: A Discussion Group on “Free Speech and Community Policing” could invite perspectives from multiple vantage points in addition to public and criminal law, such as critical, feminist, and/or comparative law perspectives.

Program Guidelines
Who may propose a program:

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.

Participants:

A Discussion Group program should feature no fewer than 8 and no more than 15 invited participants; 12 invited is the preferred maximum. The proposal should identify approximately 2/3 of the participants or possible invitees, and the balance will then be invited from an open call that the AALS staff will disseminate after the proposal is accepted. As with other programs at the Annual Meeting, attendees who are not invited Discussion Group participants are welcome to attend the Discussion Group as observers. At some point during the program, the moderator should open discussion to all attendees.

For all accepted proposals, the Annual Meeting Program Committee and the AALS staff will post calls for participation and will facilitate the program organizers’ review of the submissions. The final participant list is subject to review and approval by the Program Committee. Once the participants are identified, the organizers are requested to solicit one-page abstracts from them and distribute them among the participants in advance of the meeting.

Organizers also are responsible for moderating the Discussion Group unless another moderator is identified in the proposal. Organizers are responsible for ensuring timely communication among the participants prior to the Annual Meeting, including disseminating any abstract or paper requirements and deadlines for circulating to participants.

Proposal contents:
  • The program title.
  • The names and contact information of the program organizers.
  • A detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program, (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program, and (c) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account when developing their proposal. Organizers are also encouraged to include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program as well as representation from a wide range of types of law schools.
Selection criteria

In reviewing Discussion Group proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The program is likely to lead to an interesting and constructive discussion among the participants;
  • 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 in the group.

Option 3: Symposium

Symposia are extended sessions, either half-day or full-day, that focus on in-depth scholarly exploration of a topic of academic interest.

The AALS Program Committee solicits open source program topics early in February via a request for proposals. Faculty respond by completing the submission form found on the AALS website.

General Guidelines

  • Format: There is no set format for symposium 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.
  • Length: One half day or full day.

More details

Proposals closed May 10

Symposium programs are full-day or half-day programs that focus on an in-depth scholarly exploration of a topic of academic interest. The Committee encourages symposium organizers to arrange for the publication of the papers in a journal or edited volume. 

Program guidelines
Who may propose a program:

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.

Proposal Contents:
  • The program title.
  • The names and contact information of the program organizers.
  • A detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program, (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program, and (c) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • Proposals for Symposium programs may reserve one or more spots for participants selected from a call for participation. Participants selected from a call for participation must be identified no later than the end of September.
  • Names of speakers to be invited including their full names and schools with links to or copies of their CV. The number of speakers should be limited to three (or a maximum of four) plus one moderator and should include a diversity of law schools, viewpoint, gender, race, and years of experience.
  • An abstract of up to 750 words describing the program and its anticipated contribution to legal scholarship.
  • Abstracts of up to 250 words describing each proposed symposium paper.
  • If requesting a full-day or half-day Symposium.
  • A description of any publication arrangement (or potential arrangement) for the program in a journal or edited volume.
  • If the Symposium will be published in a student-edited law review, the AALS will waive the registration fee for up to two student editors to attend the Annual Meeting.

Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account when developing their proposal. Organizers are also encouraged to include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program as well as representation from a wide range of types of law schools.  

Selection criteria

In reviewing Symposium proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The abstracts reflect papers that are likely to contribute substantially to the scholarship in the field;
  • 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 in the program.

Option 4: Hot Topics

These are programs that focus on topics that emerged too late in the year to be included in other types of programs. The call for submissions is sent in October.

General Guidelines

  • Format: There is no set format for Hot Topic 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.
  • Length: 1 hour and 45 minutes.

More details

Proposals due October 18

Hot Topic programs focus on topics that emerged too late in the year to be included in other types of programs. Time slots assigned to the selected programs cannot be changed to accommodate speakers due to scheduling constraints.

Hot Topic organizers should check the preliminary Annual Meeting program at am.aals.org to ensure there is no direct conflict between the proposed topic and a program already on the schedule. The Committee will narrowly construe this requirement and will try to avoid disqualifying proposals due to conflict with an existing program.

Program guidelines
Who may propose a program:

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.

Proposal contents:
  • The program title.
  • The names and contact information of the program organizers.
  • A detailed description of the proposed program, including (a) the format of the proposed program, (b) an explanation of the overall goal of the program, and (c) if applicable, an indication that one or more speakers will be selected from a call for participants.
  • A description of why the topic is timely.
  • A brief explanation of why it was not possible to make the proposal in one of the other program categories with an earlier deadline.
  • Names of speakers to be invited including their full names and schools with links to or copies of their curricula vitae. The number of speakers should be limited to three (or a maximum of four) plus one moderator and should include a diversity of law schools, viewpoint, gender, race, and years of experience.
  • If applicable, name the journal or edited volume that will be publishing the program.
  • Program organizers should take the AALS core value of diversity into account when developing their proposal. Organizers are also encouraged to include junior faculty and participants who provide viewpoint diversity appropriate to the program as well as representation from a wide range of types of law schools.
Selection criteria

In reviewing Hot Topic proposals, the Committee will consider the overall quality of the program, including whether:

  • The proposed topic is “hot” and could not have been made in one of the other program categories with an earlier deadline
  • 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 in the program.

Arc of Career Programming

Proposals closed May 15

AALS Arc of Career Committee organizes programming at the Annual Meeting to address a broad spectrum of issues related to the professional careers of law faculty and administrators. Prior topics include sessions on joining law school administration, career issues for post-tenured faculty, building and sustaining academic communities, preparing for life beyond the legal academy, and retirement.

Arc of Career General Guidelines

  • Format: 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.
  • Length: Each program is allotted 1 hour and 45 minutes