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

Rebecca Love KourlisIt is hard to believe that Labor Day has already come and gone. And, it is even harder to believe that three IAALS events, long in the planning, are upon us within the next month. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will deliver the 3rd Annual John Paul Stevens Lecture and spend time at IAALS on Sept. 17; we are hosting judges from over 30 states at the 2nd Annual Educational Summit for State Court Judges on Sept. 19-20; and we are connecting law schools with the profession at the 2nd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference on October 3-5. We look forward to sharing each event's successes with you soon.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director
September 2013

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Law School: Is Two Years Enough?

Last month, President Obama suggested that law schools could increase the value of a law degree without sacrificing its quality by moving from a three-year program to a two-year program. The two-year/three-year debate has been alive and well for some time, and includes other voices like Samuel Estreicher, a law professor at NYU, who suggests that students be allowed to sit for the bar exam after their second year, with a third year being optional and focused on advanced training.

Estreicher will join us at our 2nd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference next month on a panel recommending structural and curricular changes law schools can make to ensure graduates have the necessary knowledge, skills, and foundation to begin their practices.

What do you think? Is two years enough? Take our poll!

Honoring Families In and Out of Court

The Honoring Families Initiative released a white paper last week on the role of both courts and communities in separation and divorce. The paper sets the stage for our work in the years to come.

The needs of children and families have changed drastically, and the system has not been able to keep pace. It is our view that nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, and the private sector have a responsibility to supplement our courts and provide services to families who need them. Meanwhile, courts can concentrate their limited resources on ensuring that families in need of fact finding, enforcement, and protection can access these critical functions.

About IAALS: How We Can Work Together

As a subscriber to the IAALS Report, you are one of our many partners. We thank you for your interest, your input, and your support.

In the coming months, our website will outline specific ways in which you can become involved with us. We welcome your creative and strategic input as our partners in the future of the American civil justice system. Click here to learn more.

Proposed Federal Rule Amendments Now Open for Public Comment


On August 15, the public comment period opened on the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.This package of amendments represents the culmination of several years of work on the part of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee, with the end goal of streamlining the pre-trial process, and particularly discovery, so as to achieve a “just, speedy, and inexpensive” process. The public comment period will run through February 15, 2014.

Click here to read more about the “long and winding road of rules reform,” as well as IAALS’ contributions along that road.

An Uncommon Dialogue: What Do We Want in Our Judges and How Do We Get There


Part of what we do at IAALS is to convene people who have different viewpoints around a particular topic—in hopes that areas of consensus will emerge from the dialogue. We convened one such group last spring, comprised of ideologically and experientially diverse participants, on the subject of judicial selection and the attributes we want in our judges.

Focused on a simple question, “What are the most important characteristics or qualities of a judge,” there was remarkable unanimity around the room. Click here to read more about who took part in our convergence and the consensus we reached.

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