Dean Post Delivers Lecture at AALS Annual Meeting

Robert C. Post ’77, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law, gave a talk at the Association of American Law School’s (AALS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 4. The theme of the four-day meeting was Legal Education at the Crossroads.

Post’s speech was titled “Academic Freedom and Legal Scholarship,” and was well received by the AALS community. “The invention of academic freedom in the United States was a direct result of this momentous transformation in the purpose of the American university,” said Post. “Academic freedom is at root about how universities might be able to fulfill the function of producing new knowledge.”

His talk included a discussion of the American Association of University Professors’ 1915 Declaration of Principles on Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure, which Post called “the greatest exposition of the nature of American academic freedom ever written,” and a challenge to economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen’s assertion that professional schools should not be privy to the same academic freedoms as universities.

Other speakers at the AALS meeting included SEC chair Mary Jo White, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anita Hill ’80, Sterling Professor of International Law Harold Hongju Koh, and Judge Richard Posner.

Daniel B. Rodriguez, AALS President, commented on the theme of the event: “Our law schools face critical choices: Are we going to continue on the path which, while suitable to the previous world in which we pursued glory and economic progress and our graduates took their rightful place in the generally remunerative legal economy, now has significant pitfalls and predicaments. Or are we going to take the path toward a more promising, albeit risky and uncertain, destination for our students, our faculty, our profession?”

Read an article about his address that appeared in the AALS newsletter.