Message from Our Executive Director

As 2018 draws to a close, IAALS is continually focused on providing honest analysis and real solutions to the challenges in our legal system. That is the only way to create real, lasting change. To support that goal in 2018, we:

At this time of giving in our country, please consider making rebuilding our legal system part of that giving by donating to IAALS. We cannot do this work without the support of those who share our vision for a legal system that works for all people. A trusted and trustworthy legal system is essential to our democracy, our economy, and our freedom.


Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director

December 2018 

Partner Profile: E. Osborne Ayscue, Jr.
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. This month we profile E. Osborne "Ozzie" Ayscue, Jr., an IAALS Liason and a former member of IAALS' Board of Directors. 

Ozzie has been an invaluable resource at IAALS, and his steadfast dedication to the organization has been critical to it's success. We thank him for over a decade of hardwork at IAALS and his continued support of our mission. 
News from IAALS
Regional Summits Set the Stage for A Wave of Civil Justice Reform

Over the past two years, IAALS has been collaborating with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) on a  three-year project to support the modernization and transformation of civil litigation in our state courts.

A key part of this collaborative effort is a series of regional strategic planning Summits devoted to sharing information about the recommendations and providing the opportunity for states to develop an action plan for reform. 


We are excited to follow these efforts over the next few years as we see these efforts result in positive impacts for the users of our court system around the country. Following up on the Summits, we have launched a series of webinars that will focus on providing additional information and guidance on civil justice reform. 

Read more

New Technologies Emerge in Courts and for Court Users

As courts struggle with overburdened staff and inefficient processes, they are increasingly turning to technology solutions. In New Mexico the judiciary has created a new system called the Guide and File Service, which guides users in the process of filling out paperwork related to their divorce or domestic abuse case. 


Meanwhile, some in the private sector are looking to technology to fill gaps for legal consumers. With the latest release of the DoNotPay smartphone application, self-represented litigants can receive assistance with filing paperwork in small claims court, guiding them through the process and even offering pre-written statements for litigants who are required to attend a hearing in person.


Last month, IAALS published Eighteen Ways Courts Should Use Technology to Better Serve Their Customers, which details some of the steps courts can take to better serve their users.


Read More





Rural Arizona Voters Choose Merit Selection of Judges Over Partisan Politics

On November 6, Coconino County became the first rural county in Arizona to voluntarily change from a partisan-popular election of superior court judges to a merit selection-judicial retention election. When IAALS' guest blogger, Judge Dan Slayton, ran his first judicial election in 2000, colleagues urged him to change his political party affiliation to have a better chance. “I’m going to run on my qualifications, not politics,” he said, before being defeated by his opponent.


Since then, he has run in several contested and uncontested partisan elections, but he continued to believe that “judges should be as far removed from any political taint as possible,” which is why he pushed for Proposition 416, which switched his county to the merit-based system that is in place in Arizona for statewide judges and judges in counties with more than 250,000 people.


Read more.

Foundations for Practice and the Evolution of Law Schools

For years, law school graduates have struggled to find full-time employment, facing a highly saturated, fiercely competitive job market. There continues to be a gap between what law schools teach and what legal employers expect from new graduates—and not enough traditional law firm positions to hire them all.


Over the last few years, IAALS has worked to identify the skills and traits that lawyers and legal employers consider crucial to the success of new lawyers—and to use that information to ensure that law schools can develop the new lawyers the market needs, that employers have the tools to hire the talent they are seeking, that new lawyers have the skills and traits they need, and that consumers have access to the quality legal services they deserve.


Read more.

News Briefs
Choosing State Judges: A Plan for Reform. In a guest blog, Laila Robbins, Research and Program Associate at the Brennan Center for Justice, writes about judicial elections and the threat that increased campaign funding poses to the delivery of justice. Read More.

The Promise and Reality of Equal Access to Justice. Although the idea of equal protection under the law has long been at the heart of the American legal system, equal access to justice is still not a reality for many people, particularly for self-represented litigants. With over 75 percent of litigants in civil cases representing themselves, a solution to this problem is needed now more than ever. Read more.

Developing a Positive Psychology Course for Law Students. More and more law schools and legal educators are embracing the fact that legal theory and skill aren’t enough to satisfy today’s legal employers. In response to this new reality, R. Lisle Baker, Professor of Law at Suffolk University in Boston, has created a course on Positive Psychology for law students. 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.
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