University of Denver

About Rule One

Rule One is an initiative of IAALS dedicated to advancing empirically informed models to promote greater accessibility, efficiency, and accountability in the civil justice system. Through comprehensive analysis of existing practices and the collaborative development of recommended models, the Rule One Initiative empowers, encourages, and enables continuous improvement in the civil justice process.

The work of the Rule One Initiative dates back to the beginning of IAALS. Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that every case in our civil justice system should be administered in a way that secures a just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution. Despite this promise, in many jurisdictions around the country today, the system takes too long and costs too much. Many deserving cases are not filed, while others settle due to the expense of litigation. Rule One promotes models that ensure access to justice, an efficient court process where the time and money expended are proportionate to the case at hand, and an accountable system that is fair and reasoned.

Over the years, Rule One has worked to understand the various issues that plague our system and make an impact in resolving them. Our work centers on a number of areas, including:

  • Federal and State Rules Changes
  • Judicial Caseflow Management
  • Discovery, including E-Discovery
  • Simplified Court Procedures

Even beyond these areas, there must also be a change in the legal culture, including a focus on efficiencies and cooperation by attorneys.

We conduct empirical research to further define the issues, learn from jurisdictions around the country who have tackled them in innovative ways, and evaluate these reforms. We collaborate with stakeholders to make recommendations for improvement and then monitor their implementation, through pilot projects or statewide rule changes.

Our work spans the state and federal courts, recognizing that improvement is equally important across our entire system.

The intersection of these pieces of the puzzle is critical to lasting improvement in our system.  Rule One is at this intersection—empowering, encouraging, and enabling continuous improvement in our civil justice process.

Senior Director
Senior Legal Assistant