IAALS Report - A Publication of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System
Message from Our Executive Director

Last month was a busy one for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, which released its first Post-Conference Report and submitted a comment to the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. We also added two distiguished members to our Quality Judges Initiative O'Connor Advisory Committee. We are greatful to them for their committment, and to everyone who continues to promote and advance our work at IAALS.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director
March 2013

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Our Comment to the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education

The ABA's Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has been collecting testimony and comments from individuals about opportunities to improve legal education. Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers recently submitted a comment focused on aligning legal education with the needs of an evolving profession. We also published our Report on the 2012 Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference, which focuses on professional identity formation and represents the starting point of a shared dialogue among Consortium schools.

The importance of asking the right questions in the debate about reshaping legal education, beyond the question of cost, was also the focus of a recent informed opinion by Rebecca Love Kourlis.

Insights into Court Access: Estimating the Cost of Civil Litigation



The National Center for State Courts has developed a new model for estimating civil litigation costs, known as the Civil Litigation Cost Model. By reflecting how costs are incurred throughout the litigation process, and the variability of costs from case to case, the model provides insight into the effect of such costs on a litigant's access to the civil justice system.

Also, the Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted amendments to its Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice that are aimed at "facilitating more cost effective and efficient civil case processing."

O’Connor Advisory Committee Welcomes Two New Members

The Quality Judges Initiative is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to the ranks of the O'Connor Advisory Committee—Professor Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte and Professor Keith Swisher. We are thrilled that they will be contributing their expertise and experience to the Committee, and we look forward to working with them as we pursue the mission of the Initiative.

In the realm of judicial selection, Oklahoma has joined several other states—including Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Tennessee—whose legislatures are considering changes to the process for selecting judges.

New Developments and Challenges in Family Law



On our blog, the Honoring Families Initiative is following several new legal trends involving divorce and child custody issues. Among them are "gay divorce" and parenting partnerships. As more gay couples are getting married, the complicated legal issues surrounding gay divorce have begun to surface, hightened by the tensions between varying state and federal laws.

Complex legal challenges are also posed by parenting partnerships, in which two single people maintain no romantic relationship but have and share responsibility for a child.

Initiative Updates


Selection Snapshots

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Mercer University Joins Consortium

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