University of Denver

Kourlis Keynotes Idaho Darrington Lecture: Why We Cannot Afford to Fail

Associate Director of Communications
IAALS Intern

In February, IAALS Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis gave the keynote address for the Denton Darrington Annual Lecture on Law and Government in Boise. The lecture is sponsored by the University of Idaho College of Law, the Idaho Supreme Court, and the Idaho State Bar and Law Foundation, and was broadcast live and archived on Idaho Public Television. Speaking on “Building the Just, Speedy, and Inexpensive Civil Courts of Tomorrow: Why We Cannot Afford to Fail,” Kourlis emphasized the importance of a robust and responsive civil justice system, and the need for reform.

“We are a nation in unrest and part of what . . . we long for is fairness, predictability, saneness in the midst of insanity, and justice.”

Kourlis noted that the United States has lost its way in regards to justice and what it means. We are nowhere near the top of the World Justice Index, she noted, and “not only should the U.S. be on the top, it can be.” Judges, practitioners, litigants, and others who traverse the legal landscape agree that it is too expensive and takes too long. In response, people are voting with their feet—in many instances they are going outside the legal system for dispute resolution or they are foregoing any resolution—any justice—at all.

A movement to rebuild the civil justice system is necessary in order to maintain the foundation of our way of life. According to Kourlis, there are 3 primary needs for such a movement:

  • Rules changes at the state and federal levels
  • Case and court management changes
  • Culture changes by both the bench and bar

Civil justice should not be reserved for those who can afford the time and energy to attain it. Kourlis touted IAALS’ Rule One Initiative as leading the movement and shifting the tides. The momentum is strong, but it needs the continued support of courts and lawyers nationwide to ensure real, lasting change is achieved.

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