Blake D. Morant sees evolving role for U.S. legal education.
George Washington University Law School Dean Blake D. Morant was officially installed on Sunday as president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) during its annual meeting.
Mr. Morant has been active in the association—which comprises 178 member law schools and seeks to advance excellence in legal education—for more then two decades, serving as its president-elect for a year.
“[Blake Morant] is an inspirational leader who is deeply committed both to improving American legal education and to expanding access to it,” said Judith Areen, executive director of AALS.
Mr. Morant said it was “an honor” to take on the role during an “exciting time” in American legal education.
“Legal education is evolving,” he said. “It has been from the beginning of this country and continues to do so. The catalyst for the acceleration of that evolution has been the [economic] downturn since 2008. Law schools all over the country are responding to that in different ways, and we’re looking forward to highlighting that this year.”
As examples of recent developments in legal education, Mr. Morant cited a market demand for “practice-ready” law graduates, increasing need for scientific, technical and business literacy in employees and a downturn in the availability of traditional large-firm legal jobs.
He said that AALS member schools, including GW, have responded to these changes not only by strengthening students’ basis in experiential learning through clinical and other programs, but also by widening their focus to include a variety of careers for which a legal education can prepare students.
“The key is having the skillset and the training that’s necessary to prepare you for a [career] journey,” he said. “And that’s what’s so exciting about the changes going on in [AALS] member schools.”
In Mr. Morant, Ms. Areen said, “We see the future unfolding. He envisions change in [AALS] to address the changes made in legal education itself.”