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2009 AALS News 1 (2009)

handle is hein.aals/aalsnews2009 and id is 1 raw text is: 

the president's message

Rachel Moran, Universiy of California, Berkele

The following is the Presidential Address of Rachel Moran before the House of Representatives at the AALS
Annual Meeting onJanuag 9, 2009.

   I first want to thank all of the
individuals, too numerous to
mention here, who have supported
me throughout my career and have
placed their confidence in me as I
embark on my term as President of
the Association of American Law
Schools. A few people do deserve
special mention, however. They
are my friend and mentor, Herma
Hill Kay, who nominated me for
this position, as well as my col-
leagues Carrie Menkel-Meadow,
Gerald Torres, and Charles
Weisselberg, who wrote letters on
my behalf. Then, of course, there
are the wonderful members of
the AALS staff, who enable every
President to do his or her work.
I appreciate all of their efforts
but especially those of previous
Executive Director Carl Monk,
current Executive Director Susan
Prager, Deputy Director David

Brennen, and Managing Director
Jane La Barbera. I am indebted to
Joe Knight for a provocative dis-
cussion that greatly helped in my
thinking on this topic and to Greg
Diamond for his invaluable re-
search assistance in preparing this
talk. Last but certainly not least, I
want to express my deep gratitude
to my parents for their love and
guidance throughout the years and
to acknowledge my mother who is
here in the audience today.

   Next year, we will be meeting
in New Orleans for the first time
since Hurricane Katrina forced
the relocation of our 2006 Annual
Meeting. During my Presidential
year, I am adopting the theme of
Transformative Law, mind-
ful of the symbolic significance
of our return there as well as of
the successes and failures of the
legal profession in addressing this
perilous past decade. Our meet-
ing this year takes place at a time of
crisis in our economy, our ecology,
and our international standing as
the leader of the free world. Many
lawyers (including our President-
Elect, Vice -President- Elect,
and many Cabinet officials, and
congressional leaders) must tackle
these challenges. Media coverage
of their efforts, however, portrays
these public servants as people
who happen to be lawyers, not as
lawyers whose leadership grows out

of their mastery of law and whose
accomplishments represent the
pinnacle of their professional pur-
suits. To a significant degree, the
accounts reflect the fact that these
leaders have not pursued a tradi-
tional law firm practice but instead
have devoted themselves to gov-
ernment and public service. The
image of the citizen-lawyer, whose
training can be used to advance the
common good, has so thoroughly
disappeared from the popular
imagination that those who pursue
this path are no longer centrally
defined as lawyers.

   Contrast today's portrayals to
those of fifty years ago, when the
word lawyer might conjure up
images of crusaders in the civil
rights movement. Or, compare
these images to those of an even
earlier era, when attorneys en-
tered public life as architects of the
New Deal. When citizen-lawyers

Continued on page 2

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