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October 2, 2002

Press Contact:
Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications, (512) 471.7330

Professor Torres Named 2003 President-Elect of the Association of American Law Schools

Law professor will become fifth from UT to lead law schools' association

Gerald Torres
Gerald Torres
(Photo courtesy of UT-Austin)

AUSTIN, Texas - Gerald Torres, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, has been named the 2003 president-elect for the Association of American Law Schools, a non-profit organization of 164 law schools. The nomination process was extremely competitive, and Torres will be recognized as president-elect at the AALS annual conference in Washington, D.C. in January 2003. His presidency will begin in January 2004.

Torres, the H.O. Head Centennial Professor in Real Property Law, is the fifth law professor from the University of Texas to be selected for this position. The association serves as the learned society for law teachers and is legal education's principal representative to the legal profession, federal and state governments and other national higher education organizations. During the next year, Torres will represent the AALS in conjunction with its president, Professor Mark Tushnet of Georgetown University.

"This is a great honor for Gerald, and a superb choice by the AALS. I am proud to have him as a colleague here at UT," said UT Law dean Bill Powers. "Legal education is indeed fortunate with the Nominating Committee's decision to nominate Gerald as president-elect," said Carl Monk, executive vice president and executive director of the AALS. "Gerald is a highly respected scholar and teacher who has contributed immeasurably to legal education and the legal profession. His leadership will enhance the ability of the AALS to advance its mission of improving the legal profession through legal education."

A leading figure in critical race theory, Torres is also an expert in agricultural and environmental law. His other areas of interest include federal Indian law and international environmental law. He came to UT Law in 1993 after teaching at the University of Minnesota Law School, and also served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Environment and Natural Resources division at the Justice Department and counsel to former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno. His recently published book, The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2002) with Lani Guinier, a Harvard law professor, was described by Publisher's Weekly as "one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years."

"It is an honor to lead the AALS as the legal profession confronts a broad array of challenges and as the institutions of legal education take leadership in addressing those issues. I am humbled to be asked to serve in the same capacity that some of the great luminaries of our profession," Torres said. "I look forward to representing the Law School as the fifth Texas faculty member to serve the profession in this way. I think this will be an exciting and eventful year," he added.

Only four schools have had more faculty elected president of the AALS. They are Columbia (9), Harvard (8), Yale (8), and Penn (6). Stanford and Texas have produced five each. The past presidents of the AALS from UT School of Law included John C. Townes (1909), Charles Tilford McCormick (1943), Page Keeton, '31, (1961), and Jerre Williams (1980) (his term was cut short by appointment to the 5th Circuit). And two of the five presidents from Stanford Law School were UT Law graduates and former UT Law faculty members, Joseph Sneed,'47, and Charles Meyers, '49. In addition, presidents of the association have included many other giants of the legal academy, including Roscoe Pound, Arthur L. Corbin, and Karl Llewellyn.

"Professor Gerald Torres has the qualities that will enable him to be an excellent president of the AALS. He is an inspiring leader, a thoughtful planner, and he has a demonstrated ability to work with other people in an effective way," said Herma Hill Kay, a professor and former dean of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and former president of the AALS. Kay and Torres have worked together on a variety of projects and currently sit on the ABA/AALS/LSAC Joint Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

Torres also serves on the Board of the Environmental Law Institute, the National Petroleum Council and formerly served on EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He has been a visiting law professor at Harvard and Stanford, and is a member of the American Law Institute. Torres received a degree in political science from Stanford in 1974, a law degree from Yale University in 1977, and a master's degree in law from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 1980. His many articles include "Taking and Giving: Police Power, Public Value, and Private Right" (Environmental Law, 1996); "Translating Yonnondio by Precedent and Evidence: The Mashpee Indian Case" (Duke Law Journal, 1990); "Who Owns The Sky?" (Pace Law Review, 2001) (The Garrison Endowed Lecture); and "Translation and Stories," (Harvard Law Review 2002).