University of Denver

Change the Culture, Change the System

The research on culture change, and legal system culture change in particular, suggests that it is an uphill battle. While we have a clear challenge ahead, that does not mean that it is impossible. Rather, we must recognize and focus on the role of culture change as we propose and implement solutions for reform.

Senior Director
Legal Assistant

Objective:

  • To recognize and take into account the role of legal culture in our reform efforts to create a more accessible, efficient, and accountable legal system.

IAALS and others have catalogued and documented the case for civil justice reform over the past ten years. Multiple nationwide surveys have found that the system takes too long and costs too much; discovery is responsible for much of the unnecessary cost and delay; and beyond issues of cost and delay, the system is too complex overall and unnavigable to most users, thereby undermining access.

The challenge in addressing these issues lies not only in crafting solutions—it is also overcoming lawyers’ and judges’ strong and well-documented resistance to change. Along with a focus on rule changes and redefining case management, culture change is an essential component to achieving impact. Change is never easy, and the legal system represents a long-established and mature organization, making such change even more difficult.

IAALS formerly housed this work under its Rule One Initiative until 2018.

Publications 
The research on culture change, and legal culture in particular, suggests that culture change for the legal system is an uphill battle. While we have a clear challenge ahead, that does not mean that...
In February 2016, IAALS hosted its Fourth Civil Justice Reform Summit with the goal of charting the next steps for creating the just, speedy, and inexpensive courts of tomorrow. This report...
Events 
In June 2015, IAALS convened a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys from Colorado and around the country to discuss the present and future impact of civil justice reform in the United States.
IAALS' Fourth Civil Justice Reform Summit focused on implementing change and creating the just, speedy, and inexpensive courts of tomorrow.