On February 1, IAALS hosted "The Role of Allied Legal Professionals: Systems Change and How the Healthcare Industry Succeeded in Expanding Career Paths," the second of two webinars examining the shifting dynamics in legal service provision and advocating for an inclusive and consumer-focused approach to legal reforms.

Video of the event is available below. 

We know that states are modifying their unauthorized practice of law rules to enable allied legal professionals (ALPs) to offer legal services, but what else needs to happen for these professions to evolve into established career paths? As the second in a two-part series (the first of which can be found here), this webinar considered the changes that need to be made in order for new ALPs to be added into the legal services ecosystem. Using systems change tools, panelists considered the changes that need to be made, both obvious and below the surface, to bring lasting change to the legal services ecosystem so that individuals have meaningful access to justice in civil legal matters. They also showcased how nurse practitioners achieved this within the medical profession.

This webinar featured Lana Cook (Associate Director, MIT Systems Awareness Lab), Tay Kopanos (Vice President of State Government Affairs, American Association of Nurse Practitioners), and Michele Pistone (Professor and Founding Faculty Director of VIISTA, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law), whose conversation was moderated by Michael Houlberg (Director of Special Projects, IAALS). 

For information about the first webinar, "Legal Services Evolution: Comparing the Roles of Allied Legal Professionals and Federal Accredited Representatives," click here. 

"headshot of dark-haired woman"Lana Cook, Ph.D. is Associate Director of the Systems Awareness Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her research explores systems change in education, in particular, studying the work of the Compassionate Systems Framework in education systems from pK-12, higher education to workforce learning. Cook has worked as a strategist at MIT Open Learning, incubating new initiatives in education, including the Refugee Action Hub (ReACT) and Emerging Talent programs. Cook earned a doctorate in English at Northeastern University, with a focus on contemporary American literature, cinema studies and visual culture. She received her bachelor’s from University of New Hampshire in English and Philosophy. Her work appears in Configurations (John Hopkins UP), Chacruna, Forced Migration Review (U of Oxford) and other venues.


"headshot of blonde woman"Dr. Tay Kopanos, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Family Nurse Practitioner is the Vice President of State Government Affairs for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners where she oversees the associations national program for state legislative and regulatory affairs. Prior to coming to AANP in 2010, Dr. Kopanos was a primary care provider and served in several state and national public policy roles focusing on healthcare access, care delivery and health workforce development. Under her direction, AANP has successfully overseen the passage of hundreds of state laws impacting nurse practitioners and improving patient care.


"headshot of black-haired woman"Michele Pistone is a professor of law and directs and teaches the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES). She founded the law school’s in-house clinical program, which she built and directed for nine years. Professor Pistone has also taught at Georgetown University Law Center, twice as a visiting professor at American University Washington College of Law, and as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Malta.