Darby Dickerson ’88 is president of the Association of American Law Schools

Jan 13, 2020

Darby Dickerson '88Darby Dickerson, Dean of the UIC John Marshall Law School, is serving as president of the Association of American Law Schools during 2020. She assumed leadership of the organization at its annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C., Jan. 2-5.

Dickerson currently serves as dean of UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Before joining John Marshall as dean, she served as dean and the W. Frank Newton Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law. Before that, she was interim dean and dean at Stetson University College of Law in Florida of 2003 to 2011.

In 2016 the National Jurist magazine named Dickerson as one of the “most influential people in legal education.” In 2018 she received the Section Award for Lifetime Contributions to Legal Writing from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning.

Dickerson’s many contributions to the field of legal writing include writing the first edition of the ALWD Citation Manual. She is a past president and current board member of Scribes–The American Society of Legal Writers. In 2005 she received the prestigious Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the Darby Dickerson Award for Revolutionary Change in Legal Writing, named by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) to honor her contributions to legal writing. In 2016 the National Jurist magazine named her as one of the “most influential people in legal education.” In 2018 she received the Section Award for Lifetime Contributions to Legal Writing from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning.

Dickerson received her B.A. and M.A. from the College of William & Mary before earning her J.D. at Vanderbilt. She was a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and practiced commercial litigation with the firm now known as Locke Lord in Dallas, Texas, before entering the legal academy.

As dean of The John Marshall Law School, Dickerson brought about a successful merger of the law school with the University of Illinois at Chicago, creating the first public law school in Chicago.

Dickerson follows Professor Vicki Jackson of the Harvard Law School. She will serve a one-year term until the AALS holds its next Annual Meeting in San Francisco next January. She has announced that the theme of the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting will be “The Power of Words.”

The AALS is an association of 179 member and 18 fee-paid law schools. AALS member schools enroll most of the nation’s law students and produce the majority of the country’s lawyers and judges, as well as many of its lawmakers. Founded in 1900, the mission of AALS is to uphold and advance excellence in legal education. In support of this mission, AALS promotes the core values of excellence in teaching and scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity, including diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints, while seeking to improve the legal profession, to foster justice, and to serve its many communities–local, national and international.


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