University of Denver


Annual Report

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 summarizes the discussion at the Summit and captures current efforts toward reform, challenges of implementation, and specific proposals that were shared.
The Conference of Chief Justices’ Civil Justice Improvements Committee was formed in 2013 to examine the civil justice system and develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for civil justice reform. This report is a call to action to the state courts to improve our civil justice system—and a strategic response in the form of thirteen recommendations for restoring function and faith in a system that is too important to lose.
This is the lead report in a series of reports that explore the results of the Foundations for Practice survey, which was designed to clarify the legal skills, professional competencies, and characteristics that make lawyers successful. New lawyers need some legal skills and require intelligence, but they are successful when they come to the job with a much broader blend of legal skills, professional competencies, and characteristics.
This report describes the Foundations for Practice survey and methodology used for the foundations and describes the demographics and practice-specific characteristics of the respondents.
In June 2016, IAALS convened a group of people from around the country to discuss the development of an online tool designed to help people with potential legal problems in the family court arena and to help self-represented litigants with these kinds of cases in court. This paper is the outgrowth of that convening and details next steps in a plan designed to coalesce energy and funding toward achievement of such an online tool.
This report chronicles and analyzes the two-year pilot project of IAALS' out-of-court model for separation and divorce at the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families. The purpose of this report is to provide insight into one implementation of the IAALS model and the primarily positive results will be useful for policy makers and decision makers nationwide.
In November 2015, the IAALS hosted a two-day summit that brought together diverse leaders of the family law bar to identify obstacles to serving children and families in separation and divorce matters, and explore opportunities for meaningful change. Interactive, engaging conversation highlighted a number of themes and recommendations.
The findings in this research report focus on major themes revealed through the Cases Without Counsel study. In their own words, self-represented litigants and court professionals discuss the challenges involved in self-representation from their perspectives.
This Cases Without Counsel recommendations report includes the various stakeholder recommendations alongside materials and resources for those interested in learning more or implementing various components in their respective jurisdictions.
In collaboration with a political and communications consultant, IAALS identified a range of strategies for communicating Judicial Performance Evaluation results to voters, including coalition building, messaging platforms, and social media.
To assist Judicial Nominating Commissions in performing their crucial role, IAALS developed this Model Code to identify and clarify the ethical obligations that members of judicial nominating commissions have, addressing such considerations as potential conflicts of interest, the extent of commission members’ political activity, their ex parte communications, and the confidentiality of the commission’s work.
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 it is impossible. We propose ten cultural shifts for the purpose of promoting that national dialogue.