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Judith Areen '69 Named Seventh Executive Director of AALS


The Association of American Law Schools has appointed Judith Areen ’69 of the Georgetown University Law Center to the position of Executive Director. Areen has been serving, since the fall of last year, as Interim Executive Director of the association. She follows Susan Prager, who served as Executive Director for five years and now leads Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Areen has been a long-time member of the Georgetown faculty, currently serving as the Paul Regis Dean Professor of Law.

Leo Martinez of the University of California, Hastings, President of the AALS during 2013 and the chair of the search committee, notes that "Judy Areen has a rare combination of expertise, experience, and stature. She is unquestionably the right person to lead the AALS in these uncommon times." This view is echoed by another search committee member and 2012 AALS President, Lauren Robel, Provost of Indiana University: "Judy Areen is a tireless leader with proven vision and integrity, as well as an overarching understanding of all the issues facing our member law schools."

Judy served for fifteen years as Executive Vice President for Law Affairs at Georgetown and Dean of its Law Center. Her service as dean was, by every measure, extraordinary. A former Georgetown colleague and past AALS president, Mark Tushnet of Harvard Law School, notes that "Areen is one of a handful of great law school deans in the past half century."

Her service to the legal profession has been equally noteworthy. Areen served as the President of AALS in 2006, and has served as a trustee at Cornell University and as a governor of the District of Columbia Bar. She has served in both the private sector and in government; and her career models a commitment to public service, to equal access, and to the promotion of diversity and of the highest qualities of excellence and integrity in the legal profession and in legal education. A graduate of Cornell and of the Yale Law School, Judy is a seasoned law teacher and scholar in the fields of higher education law and family law. She has authored a number of books and articles on a range of topics in her areas of expertise.

The appointment of Judy Areen to the Executive Director position has been greeted with great enthusiasm. "It is terrific news," writes Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow, "that Judith Areen will offer her wisdom, deep experience, and expertise in legal education and higher education, and extensive experience to lead the effort to improve legal education and the legal profession during this time of complex challenges." Yale Law Dean, Robert Post, notes that "no one has a firmer and more comprehensive grasp of the practical challenges and principled commitments of American legal education than Judy Areen. She will make an ideal Executive Director for the Association of American Law Schools." And this from Dean Wendy Perdue at the University of Richmond Law School: "She knows legal education, she knows the AALS, and she knows how to lead complex organizations with multiple constituencies. There was never a time that we needed her more."

The appointment of Judith Areen to the position of Executive Director comes at a time of challenge in legal education, but also a time of tremendous opportunity. As Interim, she began a process of collaboration among myriad stakeholders in legal education; as Director, she will advance these efforts in the service of member schools and their missions. With an able team in Washington, DC and with the full support of the association board, Judy will lead the AALS in a bold, invigorated direction. "We need Judy, her experience, wise judgment, and her imaginative leadership in the coming years," says AALS President Dan Rodriguez of Northwestern University School of Law.