Message from Our Executive Director

January was a big month for IAALS. We finished up our design sprint projects in family justice reform with the publication of Listen>Learn>Lead; and we captured the recommendations from our dispositive motions project in Efficiency in Motion.

We have also opened up registration for this year’s Rebuilding Justice Award Dinner, at which we will honor our Foundations for Practice project funder—The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as well as our partner law schools, with whom we are developing new model learning outcomes. The event is on Thursday, April 25th, and we hope you will join us in support of this important work. You can register here.


Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director

February 2019 

Staff Profile: Lynnea Louison
This month IAALS welcomes Lynnea Louison, our new Senior Director of Operations. 

Most recently, she came to us from the Boettcher Foundation. She is a Daniels MBA, and an experienced manager. We are so fortunate to have someone of her experience and caliber join our team, and we are excited for what the future holds. Welcome to the IAALS family, Lynnea!
News from IAALS
Dispositive Motion Reform Critical and Achievable for Courts and Litigants 

Judges and attorneys from across the country point to dispositive motions as a critical area for reform. Recognizing these challenges and the opportunity for improvement, IAALS undertook a project starting in 2017, titled Efficiency in Motion, focused on understanding the current motions landscape and issuing recommendations for improvement.

As part of that project, IAALS has released a new report, Efficiency in Motion: Recommendations for Improving Dispositive Motions Practice in State and Federal Courts, calling for a new paradigm for motion practice in the United States. The report is the culmination of nearly three years of research, surveys, and expert input into the opportunities for improvement and innovation.

Read and download the report

Shifting Focus: Legal Education and Learning Outcomes

According to IAALS’ Foundations for Practice project, legal employers and current practitioners believe that, to be successful, new attorneys right out of law school must do much more than simply refine their legal skills—they must also possess the professional competencies and characteristics that will allow them to thrive in today’s demanding market, such as grit, flexibility and adaptability, attentive listening, an ability to seek and be responsive to feedback, and an ability to recognize the needs, constraints, and priorities of clients and stakeholders. 

Today, the question remains: How can law schools adapt to meet the needs of the modern legal profession?


Read More





Listen > Learn > Lead: A Guide to Improving Court Services through User-Centered Design

The tech industry has long known something that courts are just beginning to discover: If you want to build a better mousetrap, you need to understand the user experience directly from those who use the mousetrap. Courts around the country are beginning to understand this truism and engage their users—many of whom are without a lawyer—in process reform.

Listen > Learn > Lead: A Guide to Improving Court Services through User-Centered Design will help courts understand the foundation of design sprints as a vehicle for engaging users and rapidly testing solutions and assist courts in planning for and executing a sprint. The guidance in  Listen > Learn > Lead is applicable to all kinds of civil and family case types, and the processes and tools in the guide can be applied by broader justice system stakeholders, as well as court systems.


Read and download the guide.

Engaging Self-Represented Litigants in Reform Efforts

"I just found out about this and I need to come. I NEED to come. This matters. Thank you."

This was an emailed response to our invitation to a Court Compass Design Sprint Workshop in Boston earlier this year, and it wasn’t the only one of its kind. We received positive feedback from many of our self-represented litigant attendees, via email, phone, and in person. This project had struck a nerve. 

Maybe it was the idea that, for a litigant who likely struggled alone in the court process, here was an opportunity to talk about that loneliness and frustration. Maybe it was the recognition that their perspectives and experience might actually make a difference. Whatever the magic formula was, we had hit upon it.

Read more

News Briefs
Listen>Learn>Lead: Design Sprints and Redefining Divorce. In a guest blog, Laura Storovich, a participant in our Colorado design sprint, shares her experience going through divorce as a self-represented litigant and her thoughts on our design sprint process. Read More.

Applying Qualitative Research Methods to Design Thinking. In the past several years, design thinking has gained traction in the legal field as a method for involving litigants and other stakeholders in developing improvements to the legal system. IAALS has taken design thinking one step further in applying a structured qualitative research approach to the process. Read more.

Creating a Court Compass for the Family Law System. Our courts face a crisis of access. In a majority of family cases—divorce, separation, and custody issues—at least one party is self-represented. Partnering with experts around the country, IAALS developed Court Compass as a way to engage court users in brainstorming ways to simplify the family court process. 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 within the American legal system.
in the Future of the American Legal System
View this email in your browser
You are receiving this email because of your relationship with IAALS. Please reconfirm your interest in receiving emails from us. If you do not wish to receive any more emails, you can unsubscribe here.

2060 South Gaylord Way, Denver, CO, 80208

Update Profile/Email Address