Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

AALS: The American Law School Dean Study


AALS, The American Law School Dean Study:

As legal education reaches another watershed moment, understanding the American law school deanship has become more important than ever.

The American Law School Dean Study is based primarily on a survey of the 197 sitting and 222 former law deans who served between 2010 and 2020.

The Study was designed to answer three principal research questions:

  1. What are the career paths for law school deans before they are selected and after they finish their deanship?
  2. What are the processes by which individuals are recruited and selected to be deans at American law schools?
  3. What are the most pressing challenges facing law school deans at American law schools, and what solutions have they adopted?

The survey was conducted for AALS by NORC at the University of Chicago. In addition to the survey, individual interviews were conducted with a diverse group of twelve deans at a mix of law schools around the nation, representing law schools that are public and private, large and small.

The capstone report is the first of its kind on law school deans, and reveals important findings of interest to a wide variety of legal education stakeholders.

Highlights from the American Law School Dean Study

During the pandemic, deans focused more on crisis management; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and student life issues.

  • ALSDS 2The percentage of deans who allocated a lot of time to crisis management increased from 11% in 2019 to 88% in 2020.
  • The percentage of deans who allocated a lot of time to diversity, equity, and inclusion increased from 16% in 2019 to 79% in 2020.
  • The percentage of deans who allocated time to student life/ conduct issues increased from 8% in 2019 to 44% in 2020.

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