On Jan. 5 the Texas Wesleyan Law School joined the ranks of Association of American Law Schools.
According to www.law.txwes.edu, the process of applying to AALS takes two to three years. It includes a comprehensive application, the completion of a self-study in cooperation with the AALS and a site evaluation visit from AALS.
Then the law school and university administration meet with AALS membership review committee which makes a recommendation to the AALS Executive Committee. Furthermore, the Executive Committee makes favorable recommendation to full AALS, AALS then votes on Executive Committee’s recommendation.
AALS was founded in the 1900s, starting with 32 schools under the association. Today the numbers have grown to 176 schools around the country.
Wesleyan was one of four schools that were honored by AALS this month. The other three are Drexel University, Saint Thomas University and North Carolina Central University.
Dr. Ibram Salih, professor of political science, said he is happy Wesleyan has joined the 176 schools and he is committed to educating students to help better perform in their professions.
“The intention of AALS is to improve the quality of legal education and scholarship, academic freedom,” Salih said. “It encourages the diversity of viewpoints of the student body, faculty and staff.”
Fredric White, dean of the law school, said AALS is like the “scholarly arm” of the legal academy.
“Membership creates a kind of stamp of approval that a law faculty is doing a good job of pursuing its collective scholarly agenda,” White said.
Aric Short, associate dean at Texas Wesleyan Law School, said they are proud of the faculty and staff for the hard work they have put into making membership possible.
“We think this is a wonderful recognition of the quality of legal education and legal scholarship that we are producing here at the law school,” Short said.
White said overall there are approximately 700 students currently attending the law school.
He said the law school is looking to better the future of the students by taking a look at aspects that can be improved in the curriculum.
“We are currently re-examining our curriculum, particularly with respect to more courses that will help make our already capable graduates more practice ready,” White said.
Joint degree programs are also being considered for the future of students at the law school. White said the joint degree may include Jurisdiction (JD)/Master Bachelor of Arts program with the Texas Wesleyan Business School.
They are also examining ways to offer non-JD degrees to students interested in law, but do not necessarily want to be lawyers.