When I joined IAALS in 2012, I knew I was joining an organization that was critical to solving the toughest problems in the American legal system. Over time, I have come to understand much more about the scope of those problems, as well as the urgency with which they need to be addressed. And I have seen firsthand that IAALS is as unique as it is powerful. I understand how critical IAALS’ work is, and that how we do that work is essential to our influence.
IAALS’ process is steeped in everything we do, internally and externally. Our work is driven by research with the goal of evidence-based reforms. We add in collaboration with experts and stakeholders, user-centered design, evidence-based recommendations, action-plan creation, implementation, and circle back to empirically driven evaluation. We bring this unique approach to all of our work, and it is this approach that positions IAALS to address the biggest issues in our justice system.
Over the fall I have had the privilege to talk with many others who are immersed in this work as well, and I am grateful for our partnerships and the ecosystem of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to tackling the toughest issues facing our justice system. The justice crisis is too big to be solved by any single entity. We are grateful for our partners in this work, and it is through our partnerships that we have been able to achieve even greater impact. The following are just a few examples of this year’s project highlights, all of which exemplify our process and the importance of partnership.
- Launching the Allied Legal Professionals project followed by a landscape report, resource center, convening of experts and national partners on best practices, and nationwide momentum on new tiers of allied legal professionals
- Moving forward with JPE 2.0 to improve judicial performance evaluation processes, followed by a convening of experts and leaders to identify current issues and brainstorm modern approaches to judicial evaluations
- Hosting a convening on community and cooperation around regulatory reform, along with continuing the successful Redesigning Legal webinar series co-hosted with the ABA and Legal Hackers
- Releasing new resources to help consumers, lawyers, and courts promote and utilize unbundled legal services following our national conference in 2021 in partnership with The Chicago Bar Foundation, the ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, and the Self-Represented Litigation Network
- Continued advancement of bar exam alternatives and better ways to educate, hire, and retain lawyers, in partnership with innovative states and law firms
This work as a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to improving the civil justice system through data-driven solutions has never been more critical than it is right now. Our courts, our legal profession, and our societal approach to how we ensure justice for all need to innovate and modernize to meet the needs of our changing world. I am proud of this organization and what we have accomplished this year—and I also know we have much work to do in 2023. I am excited about the momentum we have in this work and as an organization, and I look forward to working together with all of you next year to accomplish even more.