Message from Our Executive Director

In late April, Brittany Kauffman and I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the World Justice Forum in The Hague, at which an international community of justice leaders explored solutions to the access to justice gap. We felt right at home—not only because so many of IAALS’ partners participated, but also because the themes that pervaded the conference were user-centric justice, empirically informed solutions, and inclusive problem-solving: all hallmarks of our work here at IAALS.

We came away with new ideas and new friends—and we were able to share some of IAALS’ work, particularly in the areas of family justice reform, with the world!


Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS Executive Director 
June 2019 

Honoring Becky's Lifetime of Service
“Becky is someone who does not stand on the sidelines. When she sees a problem, she jumps into fixing it. She saw problems with the American legal system and—together with some core supporters—built an organization designed to fix those problems. We owe Becky a debt of gratitude for her vision and her commitment. We owe IAALS a debt of gratitude for what it has done—and for what it has yet to do. There cannot be anything more critical to our country than a legal system that provides access to justice for all who need it.”

Those are the words of Daniel L. Ritchie, IAALS Co-Founder and Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver. As Becky now transitions toward retirement in September, IAALS will remain her legacy for continuous improvement in the legal system. We hope you will join us in honoring that legacy with a gift in her honor.
News from IAALS
Divorcing Together:
An Interdisciplinary
Out-of-Court Approach to Separation and Divorce

IAALS has released a new report, Divorcing Together: Report on an Interdisciplinary Out-of-Court Approach to Separation and Divorce, which details the evaluation of our model aimed at addressing the many challenges that face families during the divorce process. Implemented in Denver from 2013-2017 as the Center for Out-of-Court Divorce, the model provides not only legal services, but also counseling and co-parent coaching, and families never have to step into a courtroom.

The IAALS out-of-court model represents a substantial step in revolutionizing the way families experience the separation and divorce process—and our data will be informative as new innovations continue to develop. As communities around the country establish similar resources, we can look forward to a day when all families who intend to work together through the divorce process can do so in a supportive, cooperative environment.

Read the Report.

Professional Judgment Key for Students, Lawyers—and Improvements to Dispositive Motions Practice

IAALS' Recommendations for Improving Dispositive Motions Practice in State and Federal Courts are the culmination of a multiphase project by IAALS, called  Efficiency in Motion, to address the challenges of dispositive motions practice. Last month, Linda Simard, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, wrote a guest blog for IAALS on how professional judgment is key to implementation.

"The students of today will become the lawyers of tomorrow, and I hope that they will rely upon resources such as the IAALS Recommendations as they progress through their professional lives—and that their legal educators will stress the importance of these Recommendations during their professional formation. For students and members of the bar alike, this is a call for a more targeted and focused approach to dispositive motions that will better serve clients and the system."

Read More.

Online Dispute Resolution and Intelligent Dispute Resolution: Two Emerging Opportunities for Families

In April, Arizona’s Administrative Office of the Courts joined other courts across the country in launching an online dispute resolution (ODR) pilot program. Centered in the family courts of Pinal County, located between the major cities of Phoenix and Tucson, the program is free and allows parties seeking to initiate or modify a family court matter to negotiate their case online with the help of a court facilitator without having to come to court.

These ODR programs, based on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes like mediation, differ from traditional court processes by being non-adversarial and focusing on helping parties work together to identify solutions to their problems. Some startups are beginning to explore intelligent dispute resolution (IDR), leveraging AI to help parties co-parent after a divorce.

Read More. 

Evaluation Finds Arizona Commercial Court Has Adapted to Meet the Needs of its Users

In December 2018, the National Center for State Courts issued its Final Report for the Arizona Superior Court’s three-year Commercial Court Pilot Program. The report provides a formal analysis of the impact of the Commercial Court in cases not involving emergency relief and offers additional recommendations to help streamline the now permanent court.

In 2015, the Pilot Program launched with three Commercial Court judges possessing specialized knowledge of business transactions and commercial litigation with the goal of providing early and active judicial case management to business disputes.

Read More.

News Briefs
Kim Kardashian West Reignites Discussion on Law School vs. "Reading the Law": Kim Kardashian recently told Vogue she has plans to become a lawyer by “reading the law”—an alternate, apprenticeship-based path to becoming a lawyer that is available in four states, including California. Read More.
Partner Profile: Kenneth Thompson
IAALS simply would not be what it is without the support of our staff, partners, and friends. This month, we profile Kenneth Thompson, General Counsel for RELX Group and a member of IAALS' Board of Advisors. 

Ken has been with IAALS' Board since 2015, and as an early supporter of our work in legal education, Ken has served the Board as a thoughtful, candid, and generous member. 
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
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