Paul L. Caron

Friday, January 3, 2020

Incoming AALS President Darby Dickerson: Legal Education Is On The Upswing

Karen Sloan (, Incoming AALS President: Legal Education Is On an Upswing:

DarbyWill the mood be jovial in the hallways of the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington during the Association of American Law School’s annual meeting, which kicks of Jan. 2? After all, improved bar pass rates and an uptick in applicants in 2019 are reasons for optimism. Or will the somber atmosphere of years past prevail given that law schools continue to close down and the actual number of new students this fall dipped slightly?

The AALS’ annual meeting, which is the largest gathering of law professors in the country with about 2,400 attendees expected this year, is a good place to take the pulse of legal education.

Ahead of the meeting, caught up with incoming association president Darby Dickerson, who is dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago John Marshall Law School. ... Her answers have been edited for length and clarity.

How is legal education doing as a whole? The state of legal education is as strong as it has been in the last decade and improving. ...

We’ve seen the number of law schools contract in recent years. Do you think we’ll continue to see schools close, and is that a good thing for legal education? My gut tells me we will see a few more closures. I think that’s just part of being in any sector. As things change, some schools aren’t able to make that adaptation. I’m neutral in the sense that I don’t wish closure on anyone. But I think universities and law schools should always think carefully about whether they are adding value and are they doing this for the right reasons and meeting goals?

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink