Law faculty, deans, administrators, and scholars recently gathered in New Orleans for the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting. True to the 2019 theme, Building Bridges, the meeting fostered collaboration between colleagues, discussions of critical and emerging legal issues, and participation in programs presenting fresh perspectives on law and legal education.

Seven members of the Drake Law School faculty were active attendees at the five-day event: Professor Andrea Charlow, Professor Melissa Weresh, Professor Mark Kende, Dean Jerry Anderson, Professor Bob Rigg, Professor Natalie Banta, and Professor Jonathan Rosenbloom.

Professor Charlow spoke on a panel, Alternative Approaches to Teaching Family Law, representing Drake Law alongside speakers from five other law schools. The panel centered on alternative pedagogical approaches to family law including simulations, technology integration, addressing ethical concerns, incorporation of state law, and developing learning outcomes.

Professor Weresh moderated the discussion group, Bridges across Curricular and Status Lines: Gender Inequity throughout the Legal Academy. Twelve different law schools were represented in the discussion group. The conversation, which highlighted persistent issues that disadvantage all women faculty and students, will continue well beyond the five-day event. Professor Weresh and the group focused on gender inequities inherent in legal scholarship, institutional labor and leadership, perceptions and expectations applicable to female faculty, and hierarchies related to security of position.

Additionally, Professor Weresh was the delegate for Drake Law this year, attending the two AALS House of Delegates meetings.

The Comparative Constitutional Law, Judicial Politics and the Evolving Role of Constitutional Courts panel explored the part that constitutional courts play globally in advancing constitutionalism, rights, quality, and other structural principles and values. Professor Kende was a speaker on the panel, touching on relevant themes including separation of powers, federalism, elections and democratic governance, free speech, constitutional and social rights, and environmental policy and development.

Outside of the 2019 Annual Meeting’s programming, Dean Anderson hosted a dinner inviting law school deans to join an open dialogue on student debt. Over twenty deans attended and engaged in a productive discussion of actionable strategies to lessen the financial burden of a legal education.

Professor Kende was also selected as Chair-Elect of the Section on Comparative Law. Professor Bob Rigg was elected to the Section on Law and Mental Disability Board. Professor Natalie Banta accepted the nomination to serve as secretary for the Section on Trusts and Estates and will continue to serve as an existing member of the Section on Property’s executive board. AALS Sections are interest groups comprised of faculty members and professional staff of member schools.

Professor Jonathon Rosenbloom presented at the State and Local Government, Minority, and Environmental Law panel on the sustainable development code and was elected to the executive committee of the Section on State and Local Government Law.

LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of the City of New Orleans, shared in her welcome letter, “Successes stem from collaboration.” What a privilege for our faculty members to attend such a dynamic and wide-ranging conference, returning to campus with new insight.