21 July 2017
Last year the Civil Rules Advisory Committee took up the topic of Rule 30(b)(6) depositions following the submittal of a letter by members of the Council and Federal Practice Task Force of the ABA Section of Litigation, in their individual capacities. Unlike individual depositions, Rule 30(b)(6) depositions are noticed to an organization such as a corporation or government agency, and include a description of the matters for examination. The company must identify and prepare the witness to testify about information known or reasonably available to the organization. The rule was initially adopted to curb the practice of “bandying” where organizations produced one witness after another, with each disclaiming knowledge. In their request for a review of current practices under the Rule, the ABA members highlighted confusion about the Rule’s requirements, as well as instances where the courts have divided on how to interpret those requirements.
20 July 2017
Too often, an adversarial family court process does not provide the best outcomes for families going through divorce or separation. Yet, most people are still primarily directed to the courts for resolution of these family law issues—and most courts hearing these matters have overburdened dockets and lack the resources most likely to improve outcomes for parents and their children. Families in these situations can benefit tremendously from services that help them plan for the future in ways that maximize their joint interests and minimize any negative effects or outcomes for their children. The Center for Out-of-Court Divorce (COCD) in Denver, Colorado, offers proven processes for separating and divorcing families that enable better outcomes for children and that provide greater accessibility, efficiency, and fairness for all parties.
19 July 2017
A couple years ago, IAALS co-sponsored a conference called Client-Centric Legal Services. While there were many interesting takeaways, there was one that I still think about all the time. A speaker suggested that, in legal education, we spend so much time thinking about how to teach students to think like lawyers that we often forget we also need them to think like clients. The challenges facing the legal profession right now are many—and many of them will be more successfully addressed if we listen to and better understand the needs of legal consumers. That mindset begins in law school, which is why clients are at the center of our 6th Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference.
Carolyn A. Tyler
18 July 2017
Questions about when judges should recuse themselves from hearing cases—usually because a party perceives their ability to be impartial to be in doubt—have drawn renewed attention recently due to high-profile cases and closely divided U.S. Supreme Court decisions. For example, the high court ruled last year in Williams v. Pennsylvania that a defendant was denied a fair hearing in a capital case when the state’s chief justice did not recuse himself, because decades earlier the justice had prosecuted the case as then district attorney.
14 July 2017
Divorce proceedings are getting a digital makeover in the United Kingdom as Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) prepares to move all...
Diane M. Johnsen
14 July 2017
Do the methods by which states choose their appellate judges result in benches with different characteristics? A new study concludes that the most...
13 July 2017
Since its founding in 2001, Justice at Stake was a national leader in the movement to promote fair and impartial courts and increase judicial diversity. But last month, the organization’s leaders announced that Justice at Stake was closing its doors. As former executive director Susan Liss explained in a recent ABA Journal article, the money from progressive organizations and individual donors on which the organization had come to depend simply wasn’t coming in.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
12 July 2017
I spent two weeks in Australia in May, meeting Australian judges, lawyers, law professors, deans, and legal service providers. I spoke at a conference dedicated to examining the role of empirical data in legal system reform, visited two Family Relationship Centres, and horrified a group of Australian judges by detailing how judges are elected in partisan elections in some states in the United States. The whole experience confirmed my notion that Australia is leading the way in legal system reform.
6 July 2017
In a recent Wyoming Lawyer article, former Judicial Nominating Commissioner Jeremy Michaels shared his observations from his tenure on the Commission and addressed some of the myths that might keep attorneys from pursuing Wyoming judgeships. Michaels served a four-year term with two other attorneys and three lay people. The Chief Justice serves as Chairperson in case there is a tie.
Carolyn A. Tyler
5 July 2017
IAALS is expanding: both in terms of our capacity for impact and in the literal expansion of our ranks. Specifically, we are delighted to announce that Managers Nathaniel Baca and Zack DeMeola and Research Assistant James Swearingen joined our organization in June. Already, they are broadening and deepening our work.
30 June 2017
This month the Northern District of Illinois launched a three-year pilot project, known as the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project (MIDP). The pilot project requires robust mandatory initial discovery with the goal of reducing cost and delay in civil litigation. Through a General Order, the court has ordered that the MIDP program be implemented in all civil cases filed on or after June 1, 2017, except as to those categories of cases that are exempted under the MIDP Standing Order.
30 June 2017
In January, I had the opportunity to present the results of IAALS’ Foundations for Practice study at the Association of American Law Schools’ Annual Meeting as part of the President’s Program. As always, I began my talk by framing the problems we are trying to fix through our work, and among the problems we simply cannot ignore are the lackluster employment rates for new law school graduates.