Our Mission

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is a national, independent research center dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system.

Our mission is to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems in our system in collaboration with the best minds in the country.

In 2006, we opened our doors at the University of Denver. We had a clear sense of our mission, but also a healthy understanding of the enormity of the task.

The American legal system is in crisis, the causes of which are complex and interrelated. A trusted and trustworthy legal system is essential to our democracy, our economy, and our freedom. To earn that trust, the legal system must be just, impartial, and responsive.


Our Process

We are a “think tank” that goes one step further—we are practical and solution oriented. Our specialty is the development and application of innovative solutions for the toughest problems facing our courts and profession, and we work with experts and groups around the country to achieve our mission.

Our process is at the core of our success.  It allows us to focus our efforts where we can have the most impact, and to stay on the cutting edge—involved with the issues that mean the most to the most people.

  • Research
    We conduct comprehensive analysis, including original empirical and legal research; and we compile existing research.

  • Recommended Models
    We work with stakeholders to develop innovative models designed to address the areas of concern in our legal system.

  • Implementation
    We empower decision-makers across the country to implement those models, through collaboration, consulting, and communications.

  • Measurement
    We then measure for outcomes and impact, seek feedback, and refine the recommendations, as needed, to achieve maximum benefit to all.

These steps are our keys to advancing a trusted American legal system that is always improving, always accessible, and always serving the people.

IAALS relies upon an experienced and dedicated group of professionals from the field who have achieved recognition in their roles as judges, lawyers, academics, administrators, business people, and journalists. As a part of a major research university, we hold our work up to the highest academic and professional standards.

Our Initiatives

IAALS has four initiative areas. Quality Judges identifies and recommends empirically based models for choosing, evaluating, and retaining judges that preserve impartiality and promote accountability. Rule One identifies and recommends court processes and procedures that provide greater access, efficiency, and accountability. Honoring Families identifies and recommends dignified and fair processes for the resolution of divorce, separation, and custody in a manner that is more accessible and more responsive to children, parents, and families. Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers identifies innovative models of legal education that align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession.

IAALS relies upon an experienced and dedicated group of professionals from the field who have achieved recognition in their roles.
The Research team works within IAALS’ areas of focus, compiling and conducting empirical research to help to move projects forward.
Read our Annual Reports for more information about our work and the impacts we're making nationwide.
The IAALS Rebuilding Justice Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the spirit of innovation and leadership that we champion in our work.
Supporting IAALS—intellectually and financially—is an investment in one of our country's most fundamental institutions: our legal system.