Ten Years of IAALS: Collaboration to Drive the Future of Legal Education

Guest Post

IAALS is celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2016. Throughout the year, we will be featuring guest posts from our colleagues and partners to recap our accomplishments and national impactand look to the future ahead. The full series of posts will be collected here.

Deans of law schools throughout the nation are faced with unprecedented challenges in legal education: significant restructuring in the legal employment market, high student debt loads, dramatic declines in applicants for admission, rapid technological advances, students who learn in new ways, shifting accreditation standards, national ranking systems, and concerns from the bench and bar about the preparedness of new lawyers. Against this background, it is so critical that deans have a forum to interact with each other, practitioners, judges, a variety of legal employers, and the many parties interested in and committed to the future of legal education.

IAALS and Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers provide that forum at this critical time.

Pepperdine Law’s membership in the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium has given me and many of my faculty members rich opportunities to learn from and share with the other 30+ law schools who comprise the group and who have common concerns and seek constructive responses to the many challenges we collectively face.

One of the most valuable assets of our relationship with Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers is the considerable database of resources that is available to us as we study various issues in legal education and the legal profession. This central repository of information, and IAALS’ expertise on these subjects, assists me and our faculty in making decisions, informing our work, and connecting us with other scholars and practitioners in the field. The annual ETL Conference augments that database and brings us together around crucial topics that drive the conversation forward. The synergy created by the combination of ETL’s robust resources and in-person conferences builds a thoughtful and powerful forum for meaningful study and dialogue.

At its essence, IAALS and ETL gather the diverse stakeholders in the future of legal education and gives voice to all in an effort to continue to improve the legal profession. I view IAALS as a visionary and thoughtful channel for dialogue and guidance for positive change throughout the profession and legal system at large.