IAALS’ Rebuilding Justice Award Dinner Celebrates the Power of People

May 2, 2024

Last Thursday, IAALS gathered with partners and friends for our 16th Annual Rebuilding Justice Award Dinner, celebrating the year’s awardees and everyone who works with us to jumpstart the groundbreaking and achievable solutions that will clear a path to justice for everyone. 

“By developing national recommendations for justice system change and evidence-based models for reform—and then partnering with others around the country to implement those solutions on the ground—IAALS is able to take a single idea and create cascading impact across the entire justice system,” said Brittany Kauffman, IAALS CEO. “This theme of one-to-many weaves its way through everything we do—across our partnerships, our projects, and our communications . . . even tonight, in this room, with people in attendance from so many different areas of our work. Just as you look to IAALS for our unique expertise, we look to you for yours, and know that you have the power to take our work and run with it . . . in your law schools, in your law firms and businesses, and in your courts.” 

The late Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a key IAALS partner who always advocated for finding common ground, was commemorated in a special tribute that highlighted our collaboration and her influence on our work—and the resulting impact— over the years. IAALS Founding Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis and Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (Ret.) reflected on O’Connor's commitment to judicial independence, her effectiveness in her pursuits, and her unwavering dedication to this cause. 

IAALS awarded the 2024 Rebuilding Justice Award to the Oregon Alternatives to the Exam (ATE) Task Force for their leadership, innovation, and role in catalyzing national dialogue on licensure reform. In a fireside chat with Task Force members Chief Justice Meagan Aileen Flynn, Helen M. Hierschbiel, and Joanna Perini-Abbott, Kauffman and IAALS Director of Research Logan Cornett discussed the Task Force’s journey toward implementing a non-exam, performance-based pathway to legal licensure. 

Additionally, Eduardo Gonzalez, Program Officer for Civil Justice at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, received the Alli Gerkman Legal Visionary Award. Jim Sandman, Chair of IAALS’ Board of Advisors, spoke to Gonzalez’s vision of the civil justice system—one that is both audacious and grounded, participatory and cross-disciplinary, and humanistic and open.

Reflecting on his upbringing, Gonzalez shared a poignant reminder: “nunca olvides de donde vienes—never forget where you come from.” He emphasized the transformative potential within a single generation and urged the audience to remain grounded in their roots amid evolving challenges and solutions.

“It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but ensuring that all wheels push us forward,” Gonzalez said.

As Kauffman concluded the evening, she highlighted the ongoing work at IAALS and nationwide, underscoring the necessity of collective effort to make lasting change. “To accomplish the goals we've highlighted tonight, collaboration is paramount. Our partnerships, and each of you, are pivotal to our success.” We are so grateful to everyone who joined us for this special evening, energized to carry forward this work, and dedicated as ever to our mission to unlock innovations that make the civil justice system more just.