University of Denver

Past ABA President, Karen J. Mathis, Brings Decades of Legal and Executive Experience to IAALS

Former Senior Director

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, is pleased to welcome Karen J. Mathis, past president of the American Bar Association (“ABA”), as its Associate Executive Director, effective August 22, 2012. In the new role, Mathis will oversee IAALS’ operations, including administration, fund development, finance, human resources, communications, and technology. Mathis will also serve on the Executive Committee for IAALS’ Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Initiative.

Mathis was the third woman to serve as ABA president and the first president from Colorado. Following a distinguished career in private practice, Mathis took a sabbatical and served as Executive Director of the Central European and Eurasion Legal Initiative (CEELI) Institute in Prague, 2008-2009. From 2009 – 2012, she served as President and CEO of Big Brother Big Sisters of America, the nation’s largest donor-based volunteer network of mentors for youth. Since IAALS opened its doors in 2006, Mathis has been a vital and engaged member of its Board of Advisors. She moves into the role of Associate Executive Director with the benefit of an historical perspective and a current working knowledge of IAALS’ mission, projects and opportunities.  

“Karen brings us a unique combination of legal experience, long-term commitment to the vitality of the legal profession and system, and executive leadership,” says Rebecca Love Kourlis, co-founder and Executive Director of IAALS. “IAALS started in a small faculty office at the University of Denver and in just six years has grown into a robust organization that increasingly needs the level of operational expertise that a seasoned professional like Karen Mathis can deliver.”

IAALS is a national, independent research center dedicated to continuous improvement of the process and culture of the civil justice system. By leveraging a unique blend of empirical and legal research, innovative solutions, broad-based collaboration, communications and ongoing measurement in strategically selected, high-impact areas, IAALS is empowering others with the knowledge, models and will to advance a more accessible, efficient and accountable civil justice system.

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers encourages and facilitates innovation in legal education in order to train new lawyers to the highest standards of competence and professionalism.