Request for Proposals for Institutional Host for the Law and Society Association

The Law and Society Association (LSA) is seeking a long-term institutional home for its executive office and staff beginning in fall, 2018. Founded in 1964, LSA is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit corporation. The Executive Office handles all day-to-day business of the Association and coordinates all LSA activities, including the annual meeting, the Association web site, the publishing contract for the Law & Society Review (whose editorial office is located elsewhere), and governance activities of its Board of Trustees.

LSA plans to hire an Executive Officer to serve as its principal administrator concurrently with, or shortly after, its long-term institutional home is determined.  In addition to the Executive Officer, staffing for the Executive Office is expected to include approximately three staff members (one of whom would be working half-time).

Institutions interested in hosting the LSA’s Executive Office are invited to send inquiries or an initial expression of interest as soon as possible to committee chair Charles Epp, at chuckepp@ku.edu. The Search Committee expects to begin reviewing and responding to written proposals by March 31, 2017. Interested institutions that need more time should communicate this to the committee chair. Institutions are encouraged to identify one or more of their current employees who is interested in serving in the position of Executive Officer; however, institutions that do not have an interested employee are encouraged to respond as well.  

Our request for proposals is organized in four sections: 

I. A brief overview of the Law and Society Association;

II. Host Institution Terms;

III. Content of Initial Expression of Interest; and

IV. Executive Officer Job Description.

I. The Law and Society Association

LSA is the premier international scholarly association for the multidisciplinary study of law, with over 1500 members, one third of whom come from outside of the United States. As the central hub of this interdisciplinary field, LSA connects a rich web of academic networks, scholarly exchanges, and funding opportunities on socio-legal research. A host institution would enjoy the regard and standing of LSA and would benefit from the scholarly networks and funding opportunities associated with the LSA's connections.

LSA is an energetic, exciting association whose annual national conference has grown considerably in recent years, reflecting an explosion of scholarly interest around the globe in studying law in action. On average, two thousand scholars attend our annual meeting. Approximately thirty percent of participants are international, coming from six continents and fifty countries. At these meetings, participants exchange ideas in many ways: in panels with discussants commenting upon the papers presented, in authors meet readers sessions where path-breaking books are discussed, in roundtables where scholars freely debate ideas, and in the Association’s annual awards for scholarship and mentoring in the field of law and society.  At five-year intervals since 1991, the Association's annual meeting has been part of an international meeting. The international meetings are particularly exciting events and have resulted in several cross-country, interdisciplinary research projects.  Activities between annual meetings continue through our forty-five Collaborative Research Networks, originally developed with the assistance of a grant from the National Science Foundation, to facilitate international research collaboration.

LSA sponsors two workshops: a Graduate Student Workshop designed for students in mid-to-late stages of their graduate education and an Early Career Workshop designed for faculty in their first three years of employment in academic careers. Both are held in the two days prior to, and in the same location as, the Annual Meeting. Both workshops have competitive applications and provide some financial support for those selected to participate. 

The Association, through Wiley, publishes a journal, the Law & Society Review, in four issues per volume per year. Founded in 1966, the Review is regarded by socio-legal scholars in the United States and other countries as the leading journal in the field.

Since 2014, LSA has been a sponsor of Life of the Law, a website that explores the relationship of law to American society and culture, reaching into the parallel worlds of scholars and journalists, engaging the listener’s imagination through sound-rich narrative storytelling, and presenting investigative reporting and thoughtful analysis over multiple platforms, including broadcast radio, podcasts, blogs, an interactive website and live law events. Many of these productions feature LSA members as advisory scholars.

LSA is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the Executive Officer regularly participates in their meetings. For more information on the Law and Society Association, visit its website at www.lawandsociety.org.

II. Host Institution Terms

LSA wishes to secure terms with a host institution that meet or exceed the favorable terms currently provided by The University of Utah, our current institutional home.  These terms are divided into those that are essential and those that are highly desirable.

Essential Terms

Highly Desirable Terms

Building on the experience at the University of Utah, applicants are encouraged to include as part of the application a description of how the resources of LSA may enhance research and teaching in law and society at their institution. For example, at Utah, the Executive Officer has developed a speakers series that brings leading law and society scholars to campus and a travel incentive for first-time attendees from that institution at the LSA Annual Meeting. Such proposed initiatives might extend to collaboration across multiple colleges or universities in geographical proximity to the host site.  In other words, applicants are encouraged to suggest collaborations that would benefit from the presence of LSA.

III.  Content of Expression of Interest

IV.  Executive Officer Job Description

The Executive Officer position entails a range of administrative and substantive duties related to effective management, conceptual leadership and implementation of goals and policies, work with officers and members, and representation of the Association to external groups. The Executive Officer carries out professional activities designed to promote the interests of the Association and its programmatic activities, member relations, administrative and financial management of the Association, coordination of activities involved in site selection and conduct of the Annual Meeting, and related programmatic and management responsibilities consonant with the scholarly objectives of the Association.
 
The Law and Society Association is open to various models for staffing this position.  The EO may be a member of the host institution’s current faculty or administrative personnel or may become a new or temporary hire at the host institution.  The EO may have experience as a scholar with interests in the area of Law and Society, an academic administrator, or an administrative professional with experience managing academic associations or similar organizations.     

Essential Functions

Administration and Management

 
Creative Leadership and Implementation of Goals

 
Work with Officers and Members

Represent the Association and the Field to Outside Groups

 
Requirements

Skills/Knowledge

 
Experience/education

 
Position Term and Time Commitment

Questions may be addressed to any member of the Search Committee: 

Chuck Epp (chair) (chuckepp@ku.edu),
Howard Erlanger (howard.erlanger@wisc.edu),
Mona Lynch (lynch@uci.edu), and
Kim Lane Scheppele (kimlane@Princeton.edu)

(ex officio: Valerie Hans, valerie.hans@cornell.edu, and Susan Olson, olson@lawandsociety.org).

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