At the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) meetings and in materials published by the Association, probably no one word appears more frequently than “diversity.” For example, the theme of the 2000 AALS Annual Meeting was A Recommitment to Diversity. In a 1986 essay titled Collegial Diversity, AALS President Susan Westerberg Prager wrote: “The different perspectives of our colleagues can illuminate other areas of research to give us new classroom direction.” And, in a 1996 statement on diversity adopted by the AALS Executive Committee, the committee stated that an objective of diversity was “to create an educational community—and ultimately a profession—that incorporates the different perspectives necessary to a more comprehensive understanding of the law and its impact on society ....” Or so they say. A look at the faculty members who actually are invited to speak at the AALS annual meeting paints a very different picture. The annual meeting panels are dominated by a handful of insiders, who teach at a few elite law schools. At the annual meeting, these faculty members are the featured panelists program after program, year after year. The vast majority of law school professors never have been and never will be invited to speak at the AALS annual meeting. This essay demonstrates the exclusive and elitist nature of the AALS annual meeting through an empirical survey of the faculty members who were invited to speak at the 2000 and 2001 annual meetings.

First Page