The American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) was incorporated in 1960, with organizational roots dating back to 1955. It is the most prominent professional society in the United States concerned with addressing issues that arise at the interface of law and medicine. Fellows of the American College of Legal Medicine, which comprise over 50% of its membership, have degrees in law and one or another health science. The majority have both MD and JD degrees. Others are JDs with DDS, RN, or PhD degrees. College members also include physicians (M.D., D.O.), attorneys (J.D., L.L.B), dentists, Registered Nurses, podiatrists, scientists, and other health professionals.
Through its medical legal resources, the ACLM educates and assists health care and legal professionals, advances the administration of justice, influences health policy, improves health care, promotes research and scholarship, and facilitates peer group interaction. In addition, the American College of Legal Medicine represents the specialty of legal medicine in the American Medical Association’s Specialty and Service Society.
The Mission of the American College of Legal Medicine is to "promote the continued professional advancement of its members, as well as non-member physicians, and other interested professionals, through education, research, publications, and interdisciplinary and collaborative exchanges of information. The educational meetings are designed to improve the professional performance of the participants and focus primarily on research, methodologies, techniques, and issues and advances in the field of legal medicine. The education activities encourage interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas and information, and thereby facilitate enhanced service to society in the healing arts and legal professions.”
This is achieved through a diverse array of scholarly and professional endeavors that are nationally and internationally recognized. The Journal of Legal Medicine is one of the leading internationally circulated journals in its field. The Journal includes articles and commentaries on topics of interest in legal medicine, health law and policy, professional liability, hospital law, food and drug law, medical legal research and education, the history of legal medicine, and a broad range of other related topics. Indexed in national and international databases, the Journal is circulated throughout the world. Articles contained in the Journal have been cited by state and federal courts (including the United States Supreme Court).
Complementing the scholarly work contained in the Journal of Legal Medicine is the further body of medical legal knowledge that appears in the ACLM’s recently published monograph, entitled Legal Medicine. The Seventh Edition of this treatise was released in February of 2007 and has sold over 1,000 copies nationally and internationally. Published by Mosby/Elsevier, Legal Medicine Seventh Edition is one of the leading textbooks in the field of legal medicine. It incorporates the intellectual contributions of more than 80 nationally and internationally recognized authors. Moreover, the publication features 75 chapters that focus on the most important topics in the field, including professional medical liability, confidentiality and privacy, the business aspects of medical practice, patents and intellectual property, access to health care, ethical and legal issues in life-care planning, pain relief and pain management, legal aspects of bioterrorism, public health law, and forensic science.
The ACLM’s newest monograph, Medical Malpractice Survival Handbook, also released in 2007 by Mosby/Elsevier, contains 43 chapters authored by a renowned field of experts. The four sections focus, respectively, on physicians and malpractice, the etiology of malpractice, malpractice lawsuit resolution, and liability of specialists and subspecialists in medical malpractice cases.
The American College of Legal Medicine produces two other significant publications. One is Legal Medicine Perspectives, which offers a bimonthly analysis of recent developments in federal and state courts, as well as recent statutory enactments by Congress and throughout the states. The other is Legal Medicine Questions & Answers, a case-based bimonthly publication offering answers to complex medical legal and medical ethical issues arising in clinical situations that form part of everyday medical practice. Both of these publications, along with the Journal of Legal Medicine, can be readily accessed and reviewed online by ACLM members.
The medical legal advocacy and scholarship of the ACLM is reflected in other important activities. At the national level, the work of the ACLM Amicus Curiae Committee has continued to showcase the College’s efforts to participate in the administration of justice at the state and federal level. Amicus briefs have been filed in cases that were pending before various state supreme courts, United States Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. A copy of these briefs may be reviewed at the ACLM website (www.aclm.org).
Additionally, at the national level, the ACLM is a co-sponsor, since 1995, of the National Health Law Moot Court Competition—the nation’s highly regarded law student competition addressing issues at the interface of medicine and law. This competition, which began in 1992, is held each year in November on the Carbondale, IL campus of Southern Illinois University School of Law. The year 2010 marks the competition’s 19th year of national success.
Consistent with these efforts of the American College of Legal Medicine is to recognize and reward oral advocacy in the area of legal medicine, the ACLM is also committed to recognizing written advocacy and written scholarship on the part of law students, medical students, and allied health professions students. The ACLM annually sponsors a student writing competition open to students in multi areas of legal medicine including bioethics. Medical students, law students and allied health professions students are all encouraged to participate. Authors of winning papers not only receive a generous honorarium but their award-winning manuscripts may be published in the Journal of Legal Medicine, following peer review. Through this writing contest, efforts of the ACLM to promote research and scholarship are highly visible at law schools, medical schools, and health professions education programs.
Perhaps of greatest significance, is the excellent record of achievement held by the American College of Legal Medicine in sponsoring successful scientific meetings and conferences in multiple venues throughout the United States. Since its inception, the ACLM has sponsored annual meetings, each lasting approximately three days and focusing on the most current and critical issues confronting the field of legal medicine Each annual program showcases an internationally recognized panel of expert faculty who address a diverse and compelling array of medical legal issues that challenge health care professionals in virtually every arena of medical practice and research. At the annual meeting in 2010, the ACLM celebrated its 50th anniversary since incorporation.