Message from Our Executive Director

Last week, we announced some changes at IAALS—new leadership, new organization, and a new website! Alli Gerkman and Brittany Kauffman, who have served as initiative directors for many years, have assumed new roles as Senior Directors where they will assist me in charting the future of IAALS and our work. We've also phased out our initiatives to help us better integrate our projects, our stakeholders, and our recommendations. And, to showcase this next "phase" of IAALS, we've launched a new website. We hope you'll check it out and visit us often as we work toward our mission—which remains the same: to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems within the American legal system.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director
August 2018

Partner Profile: Liz Anderson
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. This month, we profile  Elizabeth Anderson, PhD, Founder of Embraced Wisdom Resource Group. 

In our partnership on the Foundations for Practice project, Elizabeth has brought a level of expertise and thoughtfulness that gives us and our partners great confidence in the work we are doing to advance legal education through development and use of learning outcomes.

News from IAALS
Not Above the Law:
IAALS Provides New Recommendations for Judicial Discipline

Public trust and confidence in our judiciary, and our judges, is vital. Yet, over the last several decades, that trust has been eroded. For people to trust judges again, we must ensure a series of pillars are in place:

  • Improved ways of selecting judges;
  • Improved ways of evaluating judges’ performance; and
  • Improved systems for disciplining judges who abuse their power—which is the subject of a new IAALS report.

In it, we make recommendations for judicial discipline systems that are designed to achieve a balance between transparency and accountability, confidentiality and trustworthiness—all with the goal of enhancing public trust and confidence in the judges of this nation.

Read more.

IAALS and North Carolina Partner on
Court Compass Project

Our Court Compass project is exploring streamlined and simplified solutions that help people through the divorce and separation process, with a particular focus on people who go to court without an attorney.

IAALS is partnering with the North Carolina Judicial Branch and the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission to bring a design sprint workshop with self-represented litigants (SRLs) to Raleigh on August 11.

Through this partnership, the North Carolina courts hope to identify barriers to court services that SRLs face and to identify methods to overcome these barriers.

Read more.

A Teaching Roundtable: Building Foundations for Practice in Law School

Many law school staff, administration, and faculty members have reached out to IAALS to learn more about how the foundations we have identified through our Foundations for Practice project can improve their own programs, or to share with us how they use the foundations to inform their teaching models—and we are going to continue the conversation in an upcoming webinar on September 12.

In it, we will:

  • Introduce what we have learned from Foundations for Practice;
  • Showcase how law schools across the country are currently using the Foundations study; and
  • Explore new ways in which the study can be used.

The future of the legal profession is integrally tied to our law schools, and we hope that the information participants take away from this webinar will inspire even greater prospects for that future.

Read more.

Ghostwriting:
The Newest Debate on Unbundled Legal Services

The issue of how to provide litigants with equal access to legal services, regardless of financial status, has plagued the legal community for some time. Unbundling legal services is gaining popularity, which can include tasks like an attorney drafting pleading/motions for a litigant—also known as ghostwriting.

However, states have different rules regarding disclosure of such assistance, which can cause challenges and confusion, and some judges and lawyers are strongly opposed to the practice itself.

One way to help bridge the gap between those who support unbundling and those who oppose it is to better educate courts/judges and lawyers on the practice, which is something IAALS is focused on doing.

Read more.

News Briefs
Colorado Lawyer Self-Assessment Program Helps Attorneys Increase Access to Justice. It’s not just courts and judges that can improve access to justice—attorneys too can take steps to refine their practices to help bridge the justice gap. Read more.

Massachusetts Family Resolutions Specialty Court: A New Alternative. Alternative dispute resolution processes in the area of family law are finally starting to become more common—and include the Hampshire Family Resolutions Specialty Court in Massachusetts, which provides families with a collaborative alternative to resolving their family law matters. Read more.
Get Involved
IAALS is a national, independent research center dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and advancing excellence in the American legal system. Our mission is to forge innovative and practical solutions to problems in our system in collaboration with the best minds in the country.
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