Harvard Law School professor and constitutional law expert Vicki C. Jackson will serve as the next president of the Association of American Law Schools, the organization announced earlier this month.
The non-profit association, founded in 1900, counts 179 law schools nationwide as members — schools that “enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers” according to the organization’s website. The group inducted Jackson as its president at a January meeting in New Orleans.
Jackson joined the Law School's faculty in 2011, where she was appointed the first Thurgood Marshall Professor of Constitutional Law. She was previously a faculty member at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Jackson wrote in an email that, as AALS president, she hopes to utilize her expertise in constitutional law to address the challenges that legal scholarship faces.
“My scholarship includes work on both U.S. constitutional law and comparative constitutional law, a background that should help me give voice both to the challenges facing constitutional democracy and to what legal education is doing and can do to strengthen constitutional democracy,” she wrote.
Former Dean of the Law School and current University Professor Martha L. Minow, who served as chair of the AALS Deans Steering Committee from 2013 to 2015, praised the group’s choice of Jackson as president in an emailed statement.
“Professor Jackson brings deep and extensive knowledge about law, legal institutions, and legal education not only in the United States, but also across the globe,” she wrote. “Her talents as a teacher, experiences in curricular innovation, collaborative leadership style, and understanding of this key moment for the rule of law around the globe bring great strengths to this organization of law schools.”
This year will be the first in AALS's 119-year history that women hold all three major executive offices, President, Immediate Past-President and President-Elect — a development Jackson wrote provides an opportunity for legal scholarship to become more diverse and inclusive.
“Having all of these offices held by women is a visible symbol that may inspire others to seek such leadership roles, to overcome barriers to women’s advancement that persist, and to look carefully at how their institution’s practices can be changed to promote more genuinely open and inclusive paths to leadership,” Jackson wrote.
Minow wrote she believes Jackson’s leadership in particular will help promote diversity in the field.
“Because of her strong commitments to and track-record of support for diversity among faculty, staff, and students, because of her own experiences in government and in private practice, and because of her deep wisdom, the legal academy is lucky to have the benefits of her leadership,” Minow wrote.
—Staff writer Connor W. K. Brown can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.