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In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3040, creating the Texas Commission on Judicial Selection to study the “fairness, effectiveness, and desirability” of partisan elections for judicial selection in Texas and the merits of other judicial selection methods adopted by other states. On December 30, 2020, the Commission submitted its report to the governor and legislature recommending, by majority vote, against the current partisan elections method. However, Commission members did not agree…
At this point, it’s fairly trite to begin writing with a comment about the impact COVID-19 has on our lives and our legal system. But it’s an inescapable truth that the pandemic has forced us to rethink so much about how we do things and why—and one of the places where we’ve seen huge shifts is with the bar exam. It became clear last spring that the July 2020 bar exam—if it was going to…
Throughout the past ten months, our justice system has made giant strides in its use of technology. Video- and tele-conferencing, e-filing, and remote jury trials have been implemented in courts across the country, in many instances for the first time ever. And, when it comes to civil disputes, ODR is one of many digital processes that court leaders are turning to in hopes of balancing the need for an efficient justice system with public health…
National experts create landmark protocols to help courts more quickly resolve the wave of business interruption insurance cases stemming from COVID-19-related closures and losses IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, released its fourth set of protocols today as part of its Initial Discovery Protocols project. The Initial Discovery Protocols for Business Interruption Insurance Litigation Arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic and Similar Public Health Threats were created to help both businesses…
The pandemic has affected our civil justice system in many ways. It forced the system to go online to protect judges, court staff, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, jurors, and the public from the coronavirus contagion. It forced access to justice (A2J) entities to divert their attention to new information and assistance needs of persons caught up in the turmoil of the pandemic. It demonstrated the value of previous investments in technology and in community outreach efforts…
IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, announced today that it has named Professor David Yellen as its new chief executive officer. Yellen will take over leadership from IAALS’ interim executive director Sam Walker on June 1, 2021. “While serving a combined 14 years as law school dean at Hofstra University and Loyola University Chicago—and as president of Marist College—David forged a reputation for innovation and…
On December 31, 2020, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary. In it, he lauds the flexibility and innovation shown by courts across the country as their operations were upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. “For the past ten months, it has been all hands on deck for the courts, as our branch of government confronted the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote, noting how the Supreme Court moved…
We have now hit the necessary escape velocity to punch through the gravitational pull of 2020. 2021 awaits, full of promise, mystique, and excitement. I, like most of my peers, have taken to finishing most of my Zoom calls these days with the words “glad 2020 is almost done, what a year!” while sighing in relief. But then it hit me. My peaceful exhales have become gulps. Here’s why. There’s an old saying, attributed to…
On December 9, IAALS co-hosted a virtual discussion with Dan Rodriguez, former dean of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, on why our balkanized system of professional regulation makes it much more difficult to meet the demand for legal services. As part of our Future of Legal Services Speaker Series, Rodriguez also discussed how states can join together and offer more legal services to those in need without opening up the public to the…
Last week, IAALS and our project partner HiiL (The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law) cohosted a series of virtual Justice Data Lab meetings with our US Justice Needs Advisory Committee and a few additional partners. In August launched the individual survey of legal problems, receiving responses from 10,000 individuals from across the United States, and we are now analyzing the data. The Justice Data Lab meetings play a critical role in that analysis. The goals…