March 15, 2018
Some experts are predicting that a change in alimony rules under the new tax law passed late last year may increase the number of divorces this year. The new tax law changes the alimony deduction, which has been in place since 1942. Beginning in 2019, spouses who pay alimony won’t be permitted to take any deductions, and spouses receiving alimony won’t be required to report those payments as income.
March 8, 2018
In July 2016, IAALS published Foundations for Practice: The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient, which shared findings from a survey that asked more than 24,000 lawyers what new lawyers need as they enter the profession. In the survey, we also collected from respondents ten demographic and practice-specific characteristics. We thought we might observe interesting, informative, and actionable differences across these demographics and characteristics. However, as we conducted analysis of the survey data for our reports, it became clear that our expectation was misplaced.
March 5, 2018
FreeFrom, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, is releasing a self-help tool aimed at helping survivors of domestic abuse get the resources and information they need to pursue financial compensation. Many victims of domestic abuse never seek legal relief, simply because they don’t know what options they have or how to pursue them.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
March 2, 2018
Illinois takes judicial education seriously. In 2015, the state Supreme Court formed the Illinois Judicial College, and very recently I was honored to participate in its first full-week debut of courses. Over 400 judges participated and there were over 100 course offerings for them. At the initial plenary session, there was energy in the room—colleagues enjoying being together, eager to learn new things and share information.
March 1, 2018
In response to the “enormous pressure” and polarization weighing on the American political landscape, the Brennan Center for Justice has launched the National Task Force on the Rule of Law and Democracy. One of the co-chairs of the Task Force is IAALS O’Connor Advisory Committee Member and former Governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman. She is joined in leadership by co-chair and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
February 28, 2018
Mary McQueen is a leader and a visionary. Mary and I first met many, many years ago—when she was the State Court Administrator in Washington and I was on the Colorado Supreme Court. By the time I started IAALS, she had become the President of the National Center for State Courts. She was one of the first people I reached out to, because I saw so many natural partnerships that we could forge between IAALS and the National Center—and indeed we have.
February 20, 2018
IAALS, in partnership with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), continued its leadership on implementing Civil Justice Initiative reforms at a workshop held in Phoenix, Arizona, January 18-19. The program, The Nuts and Bolts of Civil Justice Reform, was co-sponsored by the NCSC and the Maricopa County Superior Court. Approximately 20 judges and court administrators participated, from Hawaii to Tennessee.
February 15, 2018
Bloomberg BNA recently highlighted IAALS’ Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Protocols, which aim to simplify discovery procedures for FLSA cases. Released last month, the protocols call for a specific set of documents to be released by each party at the start of the case in an effort to streamline discovery and lead to a quicker resolution of the case.
February 6, 2018
Judicial performance evaluation (JPE) took center stage in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Voir Dire, the American Board of Trial Advocates’ magazine. The cover story, written by IAALS’ own Rebecca Love Kourlis and Natalie Knowlton, discussed JPE programs in place today around the country and how trial attorneys, in particular, fit into those processes. As one part of the larger O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan, JPE programs assess judges based on objective performance criteria, including surveys of those who work with or appear before the judge being evaluated. Kourlis and Knowlton note that trial attorneys have a unique and critical role to play in these surveys.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
January 29, 2018
Dan Ritchie has had a profound influence on IAALS. The idea of IAALS was born in his office one day in 2005 when he said to me, "Is there a think tank for the legal system somewhere—a think tank that would be collaborative and action-oriented? Does such a thing exist? No? Well, why don’t we start one. Why don’t you reach out to John Moye and see if he would be interested, too." Then, Dan raised the money, positioned IAALS for maximum impact, and helped me to pull together an initial team. And he has stuck with us, helping us shape our mission and our projects at every turn.
January 25, 2018
As part of the University of Denver’s Engaging Ideas series, IAALS Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis was interviewed about the importance of an independent judiciary—and IAALS’ model for sustaining it. In the video, titled “Judging the Judges,” Kourlis discusses how IAALS is helping improve state court systems through the O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan. “Public trust in the judiciary is central to its legitimacy and to its capacity to enforce its orders. Retaining that impartiality, independence, and integrity of the judicial branch, I think in this day and age, is more critical than perhaps it’s ever been.”
January 17, 2018
Kentucky State Representative Jason Nemes pre-filed bills at the end of 2017 that would change how state appellate judges are selected. Should the bills pass, the governor would select judges from a recommended list of qualified candidates provided by a Judicial Nominating Commission instead of forcing judges to run for election. The public would then cast their vote for or against a given judge in retention elections at the end of each judge’s eight-year term.