Message from Our Executive Director

Our momentum at IAALS is building steadily as we approach the end of the year. We’ve just completed our 7th Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference, focused on developing better learning outcomes and hiring rubrics for law schools and legal employers. We’ve also just completed our final Court Compass design sprint, which brought together self-represented litigants with court stakeholders to design solutions for the courts of tomorrow. In this month of thanksgiving, we are grateful for those who participate in our convenings, those who implement our solutions on the ground, and those who provide the funding to make it all happen. Thank you—and click here for more ways you can engage with us and donate to our work.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director
November 2018


Partner Profile: Camille Nelson
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. This month we profile Camille Nelson, Dean and Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law.

Camille has the capacity to open minds and eyes to a different perspective and we at IAALS are very lucky to have her amongst us. 
News from IAALS
Courts Must Begin Meeting the Technology Needs of Their Users, Not Just Their Internal Systems

Courts are—to a great extent—in the business of customer service. Yet often, their focus when upgrading their technology doesn’t extend beyond their own internal needs. That’s a recipe for disaster in a world where consumers are increasingly getting their needs met digitally and businesses failing to do this are quickly going out of business.

A new IAALS report, Eighteen Ways Courts Should Use Technology to Better Serve Their Customers, provides a path forward to help courts use existing technologies to improve the user experience, particularly for those people who choose to represent themselves.

We must continue to innovate if we are to increase public trust and confidence in the court system. Using technology more wisely throughout our courts to enhance the court user experience is a major step in that direction.


Read more and Download the report.

New Report Sheds Light on the Need for Reform for Family Cases

A first of its kind study, Family Justice Initiative: The Landscape of Domestic Relations Cases in State Courts, brings together national data from family cases that confirms what we have long known at IAALS: family courts must do more to focus on problem solving rather than rely on the traditional structure framed around an adversarial approach.

The report was recently released by the National Center for State Courts Family Justice Initiative
, of which IAALS is a partner organization.

The data collected continues to bolster IAALS’ belief that alternative approaches that rely on more user-friendly, streamlined, and accessible frameworks will produce the best results for families who need them.


Read more and Download the report.

Courts Must Change to Serve Increasing Victims of Natural Disasters


The road to recovery is arduous for disaster victims. For the increasing numbers of those victims who end up in court in an effort to recover damages, the process can be protracted and complex.

Courts are quickly overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the cases and these challenges quickly frustrate victims already struggling to rebuild. But even with a documented upswing in both the number and severity of natural disasters, it doesn’t have to be this way.

IAALS is leading a new initiative to expedite this recovery process for everyone involved—the victims seeking recovery, the insurance industry, and the legal system. Together with nationally renowned attorneys from all perspectives—including plaintiff and defense, FEMA, the Texas U.S. Attorney’s office, and state and federal judges—IAALS is developing streamlined, pattern protocols for discovery in first-party insurance cases arising from disasters, both natural and man-made.


Read more.

Foundations for Practice: Tracking the Project’s Impact on Legal Education

Since publishing the results of our  Foundations for Practice survey, we have been using those results in the second phase of the project to work with Columbia University, Seattle University School of Law, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law to develop a set of learning outcomes, assessments, instructional designs, and hiring tools to instill and identify desired characteristics, competencies, and skills in future lawyers.

Meanwhile, law school staff, administration, and faculty members from many other law schools have reached out to IAALS to learn more about how Foundations can improve legal education, or to share with us how they currently use Foundations to inform their programs. In response, we have been exploring opportunities to facilitate discussion among educators about the study and to explore how others are using Foundations to improve education for law students.

Read more.

News Briefs
Webinar on Essential Rules and Procedures for Civil Justice. On Thursday, IAALS is cohosting the first in a series of webinars with the NCSC focused on providing practical information and guidance on implementing civil justice reform. Register Now.

Teaching Access to Law through Unbundling.
In a guest blog, Luz E. Herrera, Professor and Associate Dean of Experiential Education at Texas A&M University School of Law, writes about the need to teach unbundling in law schools to prepare new lawyers for today’s changing legal services market. Read more.

Increasing Access to Family Justice through Technology. The family justice system was built on the assumption that litigants would be represented by lawyers; however, it is no secret among lawyers, court staff, and judges—if not the general population itself—that more and more people are representing themselves through their divorce process, instead of hiring an attorney. Technology can bridge the gap. Read more.
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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 within the American legal system.
in the Future of the American Legal System
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