Message from Our Executive Director

Our work at IAALS has always been centered around creating a more accessible and efficient legal system—for all. Over the years we have worked with courts, judges, lawyers, and legal educators in that pursuit, and now more than ever we are also including the actual people who use and depend upon our system as part of these important conversations and reforms. Their voices and experiences are critical, and our latest publication, Listen > Learn > Lead, is a “how to” guide for courts to better engage real people in their ongoing improvement efforts. By continuing to listen to Americans who have used the court system, IAALS—and others—can ensure that our work and priorities are aligned for their benefit.


Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director 
March 2019 

Partner Profile: Alan Carlson
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our partners and friends. This month, we profile Alan Carlson, a retiring member of IAALS' Board of Advisors. 

Alan has been a pivotal part of IAALS over the last few years, leading us on strategic planning, helping us with projects, and connecting us to new board members. Alan is the epitome of a can-do person, and we are incredibly fortunate to have had him as part of our board.
News from IAALS
New Discovery Protocols Outline How Courts Can Expedite the Recovery Process in Disaster Cases

IAALS has released Initial Discovery Protocols for First-Party Insurance Property Damage Cases Arising from Disasters Protocols, which provide a new pretrial procedure for cases involving first-party insurance property damage claims arising from man-made or natural disasters.

IAALS brought nationally renowned attorneys from all perspectives—including plaintiff and defense, FEMA, the Texas U.S. Attorney’s office, and state and federal judges—together to develop streamlined, pattern protocols for exchange of information in first-party insurance cases arising from disasters, both natural and man-made.


Those at the table have already been implementing them in courts across the country impacted by recent natural disasters, and IAALS has seen success in developinng protocols for other case types as well. 


Read more. 

Self Representation and Divorce: A New Way Forward

In an article for The Atlantic, Deborah Copaken gives us an unvarnished account of what it is like to go through the divorce process without a lawyer and exposes the difficulties faced by many litigants who choose to represent themselves in divorce court.

Courts are evolving to serve the needs of this growing user group, and many are making court processes easier and more efficient for those without an attorney. However, self-represented litigants still face many challenges navigating the court system, and there are additional, unseen challenges that they encounter in divorce cases.


Read More. 

Managing Dispositive Motions for Fairness and Efficiency

In a guest blog for IAALS, Judge Randall Warner discusses the common strategies used by judges to manage dispositive motions. He highlights the importance of dispositive motions and the usefulness of such motions in resolving a case quickly, while also recognizing that summary judgements must be appropriately utilized to ensure that justice is being properly delivered. 

"Done right, summary judgment expedites the just resolution of a case—that’s the whole reason we have Rule 56. Our challenge as judges and lawyers is to make dispositive motion practice advance that purpose. While lawyers have traditionally filed such motions if, when, and as often as they pleased, this is a recipe for excess or—worse—abuse. Dispositive motions work best when they are part of a plan for moving the case toward resolution."


Read more.

IAALS Welcomes Brooke Meyer as New Manager

As the New Year gets underway, everyone at IAALS is excited to be taking on new projects, creating new relationships, and continuing the important work that moves us toward a more accessible and efficient justice system. To help us pursue that goal, we are welcoming Brooke Meyer to our team, who will serve as a manager, working across our state and federal civil-focused projects, including the Civil Justice Initiative, discovery protocols, and dispositive motions.

We are excited to welcome Brooke to IAALS, and we are very fortunate to have someone of her experience and caliber joining our team. We look forward to her insights and contributions to our mission of forging innovative and practical solutions to the problems facing the American legal system.


Read more.

News Briefs
New Online Tool Helps Narrow the Access-to-Justice Gap for Self-Represented Litigants. Last month, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) launched a new website service to assist SRLs navigate complex court forms. 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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