University of Denver


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.
Heather Buchanan
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.”
Heather Buchanan
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.
Heather Buchanan
January 12, 2018
The Wisconsin Lawyer recently reviewed IAALS' Foundations for Practice study and discussed some of its ties to Wisconsin's legal community. Of the more than 24,000 lawyers nationwide who participated, 500 were from Wisconsin. In the first part of the survey, at least three-fourths of those respondents said that characteristics were vital for new lawyers to have right out of school, while professional competencies and legal skills were less immediately valuable. Alli Gerkman, the director at IAALS who oversees the Foundations project, emphasized that the survey suggests that legal skills were still important, but new lawyers do not need to have them all mastered right out of law school.
Carolyn A. Tyler
January 10, 2018
The Federal Judicial Center and IAALS Roll Out Case-Specific Disclosures with Goal of Efficiency for All The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was one...
Natalie Anne Knowlton
January 9, 2018
In August 2016, the Conference of Chief Justices’ Civil Justice Improvements Committee released—and the Conference adopted—Call to Action: Achieving Civil Justice for All, outlining a comprehensive set of recommendations for civil justice reform. The Committee charge was limited to civil cases, and the National Center for State Courts recently launched a corollary project to explore domestic relations cases. The Family Justice Initiative is a partnership between IAALS, the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges—with support from the State Justice Institute.
Michael J. Madison
December 21, 2017
The theme of the 2017 ETL conference, “Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers… to Serve Tomorrow’s Clients,” captures perfectly the attitude that I have used for many years to frame my teaching. This year’s Ignite presentations put that theme into practice a myriad of concrete programs, in the classroom, the law clinic, and courthouse. Tech developers were represented. Law librarians. Producers of extracurricular activities. That diversity is precisely what legal education and the legal profession need. Here’s why.
Heather Buchanan
December 20, 2017
No system of judicial selection and retention is perfect; however, merit selection systems attempt to balance judicial independence with voter accountability. Those are the comments of IAALS Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis who, along with IAALS Board Member Chief Justice (Ret.) Ruth McGregor of the Arizona Supreme Court, was interviewed by an investigative reporter for a Goldwater Institute paper on the benefits of using a merit selection system for municipal judgeships.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
December 19, 2017
Diane and I have known each other since grade school. From those early days, she was a phenomenal athlete, a brilliant scholar, and a bit of a daredevil. She played field hockey, rode horses, skied competitively, attended Stanford undergrad and business school, traveled the world, and became a jet pilot. On that list along the way she added becoming an extraordinarily skilled business woman. In addition to being colleagues, we are friends. We have climbed Kilimanjaro together, ridden horses, walked ranches, and biked Italy. My husband, Tom, and I also knew her Dad, Charlie Gates. He was the one to recognize the need for and possible promise of IAALS. And then Diane carried his intention forward, and made it her own.
Rebecca Love Kourlis
December 18, 2017
On the very day when the Colorado Supreme Court Justices convened for an annual holiday luncheon, which includes all former Justices, a new Justice was added to the Court. Former Chief Justices Bender and Mullarkey, former Justices Kirschbaum, Dubofsky, Hobbs, Martinez, Eid, and yours truly; and sitting Chief Justice Rice and Justices Hood, Boatright, Coats, Marquez, and Gabriel all met to share some holiday cheer and some Court administrative updates. The tradition has been ongoing since before I joined the Court—and it is a wonderful one. We all get a chance to catch up, and to feel part of an institution that is profound and meaningful.
Brittany Kauffman
December 14, 2017
How can jury trials be better? That was the question being discussed at the Jury Improvement Lunch recently held in Denver by the New York University School of Law's Civil Jury Project. The luncheon was sponsored by a number of local bar organizations, including IAALS, and hosted by a number of local law firms. Headed by attorney Stephen Susman, the Civil Jury Project is holding similar events across the country at which judges and recent jurors are brought together to share progressive trial practices with the local bench and bar.
Alli Gerkman
December 11, 2017
Nicole Bradick is a lawyer, Chief Strategy Officer at CuroLegal, and an advocate for expanding access to justice. As she writes in a recent post at Lawyerist, she was a federal court litigator for eight years and had some exposure to state court pro bono cases, but her observational visit to an eviction court this summer was the first time she ever observed such a court from the self-represented litigant’s perspective. Her verdict? “Eviction court really, really sucks.” Bradick writes that she was dismayed by the treatment of the litigants and an environment that fosters imbalance, and that she was “[e]mbarrassed because in all my time practicing law, I never bothered to sit in court and feel what it’s like in the shoes of a self-represented litigant.” She is, of course, not the only one.