Message from Our Executive Director

Our Law Firm Council and Business Leadership Network have teamed up to provide a free CLE webinar in two weeks, in which we will discuss Arizona's civil justice reform efforts and how other states can learn from their successes. We are honored to have Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales present the webinar along with Don Bivens, who chaired the state's Committee on Civil Justice Reform. We are thrilled to share this opportunity to hear from two of the nation's strongest civil justice reform champions—we hope you will join us on September 20. Registration is now open.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director
September 2018

Partner Profile: Tom Clarke
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. This month, we profile  Thomas Clarke, PhD, Vice President of Research & Technology at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

So many of the good ideas that are bubbling through the court systems in the United States today can be traced back to Tom. As a community of court geeks, court reformers, and court lovers, we owe a great deal to him.

News from IAALS
Better Access through Unbundling: New Report Gives Recommendations to
Increase Access

In the fall of 2017, IAALS and the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services held the "Better Access through Unbundling: From Ideation to Implementation" conference, which was intended to get legal system stakeholders closer to the tipping point for widespread implementation of unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation.

IAALS has now published its post-conference report, detailing the themes, recommendations, and strategic plans that emerged from the conference—with takeaways for every jurisdiction, whether or not they have embraced unbundling to this point. In this new report, we detail recommendations for advancing unbundling for:

  • Rulemakers and regulatory bodies
  • Court systems and court service providers
  • Attorneys and professional organizations
  • Law schools and legal educators

Read more.

Redefining Case Management: Perspectives from
State and Federal Judges

IAALS’ recent report, Redefining Case Management, offers strategies to help courts, judges, and attorneys take charge of the delivery of justice and anchor a holistic vision for case management—from start to finish. This month, two esteemed judges wrote guest blogs for IAALS on their recent case management experiences and strategies.

Judge Jennifer Bailey of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Circuit Civil Division, highlights the teamwork approach to case management, with judges involved in a pilot project reporting a 20% reduction in caseload and cases closing four months earlier.

Judge Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division, discusses lawyer cooperation and encouraging "meet and confer" conversations—which often result in quicker resolution of disputes throughout the litigation process.

Resignation of Oklahoma Judge Highlights Need for
Improved State Judicial Discipline Systems

According to news reports, a state district judge in Oklahoma has agreed to resign and no longer seek judicial office following a petition describing numerous acts of misconduct that the chief justice filed with the state’s Court on the Judiciary Trial Division. The litany of misconduct ran the gamut, including attempting to fix a son’s traffic ticket, misrepresentations in campaign literature, and behavior during judicial proceedings.

The case illustrates several aspects of state judicial discipline highlighted in a recent IAALS report, Recommendations for Judicial Discipline Systems.

We encourage all those who run, participate in, or are observers of state judicial discipline systems to consider our recommendations, so that situations like these can be avoided in the first place or dealt with uniformly when they do arise.

Read more.

Foundations for Practice, the "Whole Lawyer," and the Path to Competency for New Lawyers

In the most recent issue of the  Bar Examiner, Alli Gerkman and Zack DeMeola discuss the perceived skills gap that affects employment for newly graduated law students, an issue that has even greater implications for the profession as a whole when new lawyers enter the workforce unprepared or underprepared.

The gap between what new lawyers have and what new lawyers need may suggest that law schools are falling short when preparing their students for practice. But it may also suggest that legal employers are falling short when it comes to developing hiring practices that result in good hires, or that regulators are falling short when they assess the extent to which the current licensure process aligns with the needs of the profession.

IAALS' Foundations for Practice project continues to address these concerns. Don't miss our upcoming webinar on September 12.

Read more.

News Briefs
Understanding Summary Judgment in the United States—and How to Improve It. Law Week Colorado recently highlighted IAALS’ report on the landscape of summary judgment motions practice, which serves as a foundation for conversations about current practices and eventual improvements, and recognizes that motions practice—as much as discovery—has a role to play in civil justice reform. Read more.
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