Dedicated to upholding and advancing excellence in legal education since its founding in 1900, AALS is comprised of 179 member law schools and serves as the learned society for more than 9,000 law faculty. It advances teaching and scholarship through its annual meeting and other events, and serves as a catalyst for discussion of important issues in legal education and the legal profession.
"I am very pleased to have been chosen as the president-elect of the Association of American Law Schools," said Marcus, who is the Hugh and Nollie Haynes Professor of Law at William & Mary. "The organization does extremely important work in promoting excellence in legal education. It is my goal to actively assist in that work. I hope to pursue several projects, one of which is something I care a great deal about: encouraging law schools to play an active role in making sure that all needy individuals throughout our nation can receive affordable legal services."
Marcus is an internationally known scholar of criminal law and procedure, jury behavior, and copyright law. He has written more than 50 law review articles and authored or co-authored eight books, including The Prosecution and Defense of Criminal Conspiracy Cases. In addition to his scholarship, he has given invited lectures or conference presentations in 24 countries, most recently in France and Brazil. He regularly lectures on behalf of the Federal Judicial Center.
"We congratulate Professor Marcus on his election as president-elect of the AALS," said William & Mary Law School Dean Davison M. Douglas. "Professor Marcus is one of the most experienced legal educators in the United States, with a deep understanding of the range of challenges that confront America's law schools. He is also a gifted teacher and a widely respected scholar. Professor Marcus is a marvelous choice to serve as president-elect of the AALS!"
Marcus began his academic career at the University of Illinois and later joined the faculty of the University of Arizona, where he was appointed dean of the College of Law at the age of 36. In 1992 he joined the William & Mary faculty as the Haynes Professor of Law and later served as acting dean for two years. A three-time winner of the Law School's Walter L. Williams, Jr., Memorial Teaching Award, he was appointed in 2007 as the Law School's first Herbert V. Kelley, Sr., Professor for Excellence in Teaching. In 2010 he received the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, the state's highest honor for professors, given to recognize excellence in teaching, research, and public service.
A. Mechele Dickerson, now the Arthur R. Moller Chair in Bankruptcy Law and Practice and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, began her academic career at William & Mary. She recalled Marcus's interest in mentoring junior faculty and his belief that colleagues could learn from each other, particularly when it came to teaching. He frequently offered to observe classes taught by pre-tenured faculty in an unofficial capacity and, in turn, welcomed them to sit in on his classes.
"Watching Paul teach and working with him on projects and committees at William & Mary helped mold my approach to being a professor, " Dickerson recalled. "He is a model teacher and scholar who represents everything we should be proud of about legal education in the United States. Given Paul's dedication and commitment to improving legal education generally and to helping young professors become better teachers and scholars, I cannot think of a person more worthy to assume the leadership of AALS."
Melanie D. Wilson, the Dean and Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law, said that Marcus over four decades "through actions, as well as his words, has demonstrated his resolute commitment to excellence in legal education. He is a first-rate teacher who has spent countless hours mentoring junior colleagues, both at William & Mary, and across the country. He is a model scholar, who has authored dozens of books and scholarly articles, mostly urging improvements to our criminal justice system. And, he has proven repeatedly his dedication to achieving a diverse and inclusive educational (and broader) community through his tireless service and outreach, whether with the local Big Brothers Mentoring Program or at the national level. Paul Marcus is a perfect fit to become president of the AALS in these challenging times."
Marcus is founder and director of William & Mary Law School's Literature and the Law Program at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. He has been honored with the University of Arizona's Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award and William & Mary's Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which recognized him "for the spirit with which he gives of himself, especially to those in need."