October 12, 2017
Over the last three years, California has undertaken an effort to “research and analyze innovative proposals for the justice system of the future.” The work has culminated in a final report that was submitted to the Chief Justice on April 26, 2017. The report from the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System focuses on practical ways to more effectively adjudicate cases, achieve greater fiscal stability, and use technology to enhance the public’s access to the courts. The breadth of the report is tremendous, making sweeping recommendations in criminal law, civil law, family law, court administration, and technology.
October 11, 2017
Technology has radically altered how legal help is sought—and how it is delivered—yet there is still an overwhelming need for affordable and accessible legal services in the United States. This gulf can only be bridged when attorneys adopt new ways of approaching the practice of law and the delivery of legal services.
Carolyn A. Tyler
October 5, 2017
What do clients want from their attorneys? The answers to that question would seem to be key to understanding how to improve the quality and diversity of legal services. Identifying what clients value in their lawyers has been a challenge because clients are difficult to identify and survey. But, now we have a source of precisely the information we need. IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, is partnering with Avvo, an online legal services marketplace, on a new project: “Think Like a Client.” This first-of-its-kind effort was announced today from the 6th Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference.
October 3, 2017
Arizona’s Supreme Court has approved numerous civil justice reforms “aimed at reducing the time and expense it takes to resolve civil cases in Arizona’s superior courts.” The reforms are based on the recommendations of Arizona’s Civil Justice Reform Committee, which was established by the Arizona Supreme Court in December 2015 to “develop recommendations, including rule amendments or pilot projects, to reduce the cost and time required to resolve civil cases in Arizona’s superior courts.”
October 2, 2017
Hello! My name is Heather Buchanan, and I am a second-year law student at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. I am thrilled to be attending the 6th Annual Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference in Denver this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (October 5–7). The theme of this year's conference is "Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers... to Serve Tomorrow's Clients," which will focus on client needs, improvements in delivering legal services, and—most importantly—ways to bring those concepts into law schools to better prepare the next generation of lawyers.
September 29, 2017
By now, the word is out that Judge Richard A. Posner is retiring from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. His retirement was unexpected, but his stated reasons for doing so shouldn’t be. In correspondence announcing his departure, Judge Posner sites apparent “difficulty” with his colleagues on the bench over the treatment of self-represented litigants as the motivation to leave the bench. A prompt response from Chief Judge Diane P. Wood, also on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, countered Judge Posner’s claim by stating, in part, “the judges and our staff attorneys take great care with pro se filings.” Judge Posner’s point, though, is more indicative of the entire justice system than a particular court and its staff attorneys.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
September 28, 2017
Russell has been with IAALS from the first moment. He came to us at the recommendation of Judge Richard Matsch of the Federal District Court in Denver. Russell had just left his position as Deputy Director of the Federal Judicial Center and joined the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program. Judge Matsch told me that if we could get Russell on our Board, we would have won the lottery. And indeed, we did. Russell has been our secret weapon—our empirical conscience.
September 26, 2017
When law school applications took a downturn around 2011, some law schools redesigned their curricula to add more experiential learning opportunities. Aimed at ensuring that their students were prepared for practice after graduation—and improving their graduates' chances of getting hired—schools hoped the refocused offerings might attract more applicants. In the midst of this shift, David Thomson and Stephen Daniels planned a three-year study of students at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. The results were published recently in an article titled, "If You Build it, They Will Come: What Students Say About Experiential Learning."
September 19, 2017
With nearly 30 percent of lawyers responding to our Foundations for Practice survey indicating that “life experience between college and law school” was “very helpful” (and another 49 percent saying it was “helpful”), why don’t lawyers discuss these experiences more on resumes or in interviews? The focus generally is to keep their background “strictly legal,” but the Foundations survey indicates that employers are looking for new hires that have grit, work ethic, and experience. And if you’re a young lawyer, likely the only place you can draw on past experience is non-legal jobs.
September 15, 2017
Last night, Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Director Alli Gerkman was honored at the 12th Annual Raising the Bar Dinner hosted by the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation. Each year, the CWBA Foundation honors women lawyers “who have made a difference in our communities and have ‘raised the bar’ for all of us.” With over 400 people in attendance, Alli was honored along with four other women attorneys for their work to raise the bar through reform or innovation “that has significant systemic impact.”
September 13, 2017
At next month's Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference, we will spend Saturday morning in a Design Thinking workshop. It will be a hands-on way to learn what a design approach is, for you to use as an experiential teaching method or as a problem-solving process. When you hear the word “design,” you might assume this method is all about visuals, making things look nice, and choosing the best PowerPoint themes. Good visual design is important. But “Design Thinking” focuses not so much on visuals, as on solving problems in more human-centered and experimental ways. It's about understanding a challenge area from different stakeholders' perspectives, and then quickly building and testing new solutions to see which have the greatest promise.
September 7, 2017
The U.S. legal system is already hard to navigate and understand, but even more so in the aftermath of a natural disaster. In the wake of Hurricane...