July 13, 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
July 12, 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.
July 6, 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
July 5, 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.
June 30, 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.
June 30, 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.
Carolyn A. Tyler
June 29, 2017
For as long as she can remember, capital campaigns, strategic planning, and philanthropy were the topics of dinner table conversion for Carol Miller’s family. It’s as if the “family business” was to serve nonprofit institutions, and to utilize their natural talents as relationship builders to connect with others and attract donor investment. With such early and robust exposure to development vernacular, Carol was called to the profession, not by obligation, but by sheer passion for the work. With 18-years’ experience in major gifts, planned giving, corporate partnerships, and development, IAALS is fortunate to welcome Carol as our new Director of Strategic Partnerships. Carol succeeds Barbara Blackwell who left IAALS this April for a new St. Louis position. Carol has a rich background in development having directed important campaigns for Colorado Public Radio, Alzheimer’s Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
June 28, 2017
In an article published earlier this month, Law Week Colorado covered the new roadmap for civil justice reform developed by IAALS and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The two organizations announced their "Roadmap for Implementation" in May, on the heels of the Conference of Chief Justice (CCJ)'s recommendations for increasing efficiency and effectiveness. IAALS will work with five jurisdictions to implement and test the roadmap, and IAALS and NCSC will provide guidance and support along the way, as they have throughout the CCJ Civil Justice Improvements project process.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
June 22, 2017
In a recent commentary in The Federal Lawyer, Judge Jack Zouhary analogized being a judge working to implement the new Federal Civil Rules to being a baseball team manager. He wrote that “[t]he team manager tries to make the right in-game decisions, but also to have a winning season.” He then defines a winning season for a judge as shepherding cases to a successful conclusion, “whether that conclusion be a trial, a decision on a dispositive motion, or a settlement.” Few judges or attorneys have embraced the call for reform with such passion, intelligence, creativity, and integrity as Judge Zouhary.
June 8, 2017
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently approved a rule allowing a lawyer-mediator to draft and file settlement documents in family law cases, which can provide a more cost-effective path to divorce for families. In this situation, the lawyer’s role is limited and the he or she would not represent either party to the mediation; therefore, the lawyer may not give legal advice or advocate on behalf of either party. Parties are also encouraged to seek independent legal advice prior to signing the documents prepared by the lawyer-mediator.
June 7, 2017
This week, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed legislation to reauthorize and restructure the state’s judicial performance evaluation (JPE) program. Colorado was one of the first states in the nation to establish a JPE program to help judges improve their own performance on the bench and inform voters about that performance for judicial retention elections. The 1988 legislation that created Colorado’s program included a provision scheduling the program for repeal in 30 years—on June 30, 2019. Earlier this year, both the General Assembly and the Office of Judicial Performance Evaluation tackled head-on the challenge of drafting new legislation to keep the program in place, and IAALS applauds their efforts.
Carolyn A. Tyler
June 5, 2017
In three quarters of all civil cases, at least one party is going to court without an attorney and navigating a legal system not designed for the layperson’s use. To help potential litigants, some courts are leveraging technology and developing websites and portals that offer a vast amount of information and resources. However, these offerings vary widely in courthouses across the country. With the goal of helping bridge what has become an access-to-justice gap, IAALS today announced the release of Court Compass: Mapping the Future of User Access Through Technology, a compendium and analysis of court-offered solutions for self-represented litigants (SRLs), along with maturity models to guide the development of integrated solutions in courts nationwide.