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As Head of AALS, Chemerinsky Wants to Tackle the Big Problems  

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky has set an ambitious agenda for the upcoming year as he was recently selected to take over as president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). As many have expressed macro concerns about problems like global warming and the direction of American democracy, Chemerinsky comes into his new role challenging law schools to meet those problems head on.

“I am very excited about the year ahead and have chosen the theme, ‘How Law Schools Can Make a Difference’ for 2022 and the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting. Our society and the world face enormously difficult problems: threats to democracy and the rise of authoritarianism, climate change, great wealth disparities, and racial inequalities. Law schools can and must play an active role in finding solutions,” Chemerinsky said.

Chemerinsky, who serves as the dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, will take over for 2021 AALS President Vincent D. Rougeau, who is the president of the College of the Holy Cross and a professor at Boston College Law School, according to the organization. He will continue to serve on the AALS Executive Committee.

The abysmal approval ratings for President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and the Supreme Court were among the many concerns Chemerinsky hopes to address as he steps into his new role, notes the announcement from the Berkeley School of Law highlighting Chemerinsky’s selection.

“I have been teaching for over 40 years and I never have seen my students so discouraged,” Chemerinsky said. “They see a country that has lost faith in the institutions of government… a political system that is broken.”

From Twitter

Vardan Law @VardanLaw Dec 31, 2021

supreme court 546279 1920"Dean of U of California Berkeley School of Law weighs in on the most important Supreme Court cases of ‘21 including “Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, which greatly weakened the protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” #FreedomToVoteAct https://t.co/KhxZKlDYZD"

It is for these reasons Chemerinsky plans to focus his term on solving the big-ticket items pressing down on American society. As Berkley points out, Chemerinsky has long been a believer law schools have both the ability and obligation to affect positive change. And he has long been active in helping to facilitate those changes.

According to the school, Chemerinsky was twice named “the most influential person in U.S. legal education” by National Jurist and has been an active member of the AALS in for decades. “The only thing about which there seems to be a consensus is that American society, and the world, are facing unprecedented dangers,” he said. “My hope is that all of us, liberal or conservative, can agree that change is essential and that law schools should make a positive difference.”

In addition to the elevation of Chemerinsky to president, Mark C. Alexander, the dean of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has been chosen to serve as president-elect. Further, Kevin Washburn, the dean of the University of Iowa College of Law and Eloisa Rodriguez-Dod, the associate dean for academic affairs at Florida International University College of Law, will sit on the AALS Executive Committee, notes the organization.

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