ALSB History

“The [business law] training there obtained by the business student ought to be reflected by the asset side of the balance sheet of the business with which in later years he will be associated. The ultimate gain in such study ought to enable the future business man to avoid a good deal of unnecessary litigation. It ought also to equip him with the means of making an intelligent selection of legal devices as his business problems arise….”

–1924, Professor William E. Britton, Indiana University

Much has changed since the founding of the association in 1924, most notably the expansion of its membership to include all of society, beyond a presumptively male professorate. We celebrate our evolved inclusiveness and seek continued improvement in the discipline. We also note that the 1924 description of business law knowledge as a tangible asset has enduring relevance. As the ALSB Core Values state, “Law and ethical behavior are foundational to civilized society. Legal studies, an inclusive term that encompasses the diverse ways that law and ethics shape the global environment of business, is an integral part of business education and informs effective and responsible business decisions and managerial behavior.” While it is impossible to condense 100 years of history without omitting some important events, the following Historical Highlights illustrate how far we have come as an academic organization, and necessarily inform our trajectory as we begin our second century. A detailed history of the ALSB can be found on our primary website, “About the ALSB.”

ALSB Historical Timeline

Committee formed to investigate association of business law faculty.
American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business founded.
Business law faculty meet at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
Survey of business schools shows an average of two semesters of business law in the curriculum.
Meeting at the American Association of Law Schools, LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, resolution passed;

“That the instructors in Law in Collegiate Schools of Business form and they hereby do form an association to be known as Association of Instructors of Law in Collegiate Schools of Business with the general object of advancing the study and teaching of Business Law and promoting good fellowship among teachers engaged in teaching Business Law.”

Name changed to Association of Teachers of Law in Collegiate Schools of Business.
Association meets separately from the AALS for the first time.
Name changed to the American Business Law Association (ABLA).
Co-sponsored by The American Finance Association, Law and Business publication announced. Due to the small number of members in each association, the 1941 publication date did not materialize.
ABLA adopts its first Constitution and Bylaws, establishing Executive Committee governance.
No meetings held during the World War II period.
ABLA sends a Liaison to the Council for Professional Education for Business, establishing the first link to the association precursor to the AACSB. The AACSB Liaison of today is a member of the Executive Committee of the ALSB.
The Bulletin of the American Business Law Association begins publication of scholarly work.
Gordon & Howell Higher Education Report calls for a broader approach in business education, including a
focus on the “legal framework of business” rather than “business law.”
The Bulletin of the American Business Law Association transitions to regular printing.
The House of Delegates is established in the governance structure of the ABLA.
American Business Law Journal is first published, transitioning from the Bulletin to a full-fledged scholarly publication.
Liaison to the AICPA is established.
Journal of Legal Studies Education is established, focusing on publication of pedagogical scholarship.
AACSB uses the “legal environment of business” terminology and describes study of “legal and regulatory” content in the curriculum.
The first ALSB Section, the Ethics Section, was recognized. Additional sections soon followed, establishing
communities of interest.

The name of the association changes (D/B/A) to the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.​
First Master-Teacher seminar and competition held.

In the Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher Competition, the ALSB highlights the best classroom teaching, particularly the incorporation of new or evolving course subject matter, cultural contexts, pedagogy, and technology. The goal is deeper engagement of students in the learning process and of faculty in their guild.

Strategic Plan adopted.
Mentorship Program created, matching members with other Academy members to mentor teaching and research excellence.
ALSB adopts a new Strategic Plan, communicating its Mission:

The Academy of Legal Studies in Business advances legal studies in business education and is the professional home for legal studies researchers and educators, fostering collegial relationships and productive collaboration with researchers, educators, and organizations throughout the world. The Academy promotes knowledge of law, ethical behaviors, and an appreciation for justice, in research and teaching, so that students better understand the world in which businesses operate and so that business leaders may better understand their relationship with society and the impact of their decisions.

Meetings held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive Committee appoints a Blue-Ribbon Committee asked to produce a “White Paper on the Next Century of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.”
ALSB meets in person for its Annual Conference, in Louisville, KY, for the first time since the pandemic.