University law professor named president-elect of Association of American Law Schools

Oct. 8, 2002

AUSTIN, Texas—Gerald Torres, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, has been named president-elect of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), a non-profit organization of 164 law schools.

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 at Austin to be selected for this position. Only four law schools have had more faculty members elected president of the AALS.

The association is a learned society for law teachers and is legal education's principal representative to the legal profession, the federal and state governments and to 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 The University of Texas at Austin,” said Bill Powers, dean of the university’s School of Law.

“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 also is an expert in agricultural and environmental law. His other areas of interest include federal Indian law and international environmental law. He began teaching at The University of Texas at Austin in 1993 after having taught at the University of Minnesota Law School. He has worked 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" with Lani Guinier, a Harvard University law professor, was described by Publisher's Weekly as “one of the most provocative and challenging books on race produced in years.”

“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.

Torres also serves on the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the National Petroleum Council. He formerly served on Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council. He has been a visiting law professor at Harvard and Stanford universities and is a member of the American Law Institute. Torres received a degree in political science from Stanford University in 1974, a law degree from Yale University in 1977 and a master's degree in law from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1980.

For more information contact: Laura Castro, School of Law, 512-232-1229, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.