Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

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On September 25, IAALS hosted a virtual donor appreciation reception to recognize and thank the many generous donors who make all our work possible.  “We all share something in common, I think,” said Sam Walker, interim executive director, as he opened the program, “Which is an appreciation for something that might strike some as an abstraction—the rule of law. But it’s not an abstraction, because it’s a pillar of our American way of life and…
On August 27, the Arizona Supreme Court voted unanimously to eliminate its ethics rules barring nonlawyers from having an economic interest in law firms or participating in fee-sharing and streamlined rules governing how lawyers can advertise and connect with potential clients. The court also approved a new category of nonlawyer licensee called “Legal Paraprofessionals” (LPs), who will be able to represent clients in court. The approved changes adopt and enact the recommendations made by Arizona’s…
September 17 marks Constitution Day, a day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution—undoubtedly the most influential document in American history—in 1787. In order to celebrate, IAALS is looking back on a series of perspectives we published in 2016, authored by members of our O’Connor Advisory Committee. Comprised of leaders across our government, judiciary, and legal profession, the group of authors share their wisdom and experience, grounded in a belief that an independent…
On September 17, IAALS Founding Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch published an op-ed in USA Today commending recent legal regulatory reforms in Utah and Arizona, and calling for more states across the country to make similar bold changes. Kourlis and Gorsuch make the case that our legal system—as it operates now—is too inaccessible for everyday Americans and that legal services are out of reach. And they acknowledge that,…
The Iowa farmer had some questions. Letter in hand, he called our number and got right down to business: “Is this legitimate? Is this for real?” It was a question I had heard numerous times before, but the tone varied between the callers—often skeptical or incredulous, occasionally wistful. The farmer opted for direct, so I answered him in kind: “It is, sir. It is.” “Okay, then,” he said. “Tell me more.” The farmer had been…
State judicial misconduct . . . . How much? What kinds? What do discipline bodies do about it? For starters, consult IAALS’ analysis and recommendations for those bodies and its sources. Follow Cynthia Gray’s long-standing and essential Judicial Ethics and Discipline blog, the closest thing we have to a common law of judicial discipline. And read Reuters’ report on “[t]housands of U.S. judges who broke laws, oaths [but] remained on the bench,” available here
Just over seven years ago, IAALS launched Law Jobs: By the Numbers, an effort to provide a new perspective on law school rankings. The tool, which pulls employment outcomes data directly from what every law school reports to the American Bar Association, has provided prospective students—along with researchers and the media—with access to the most meaningful, individualized information about the law school options available to them. No guesswork, no editorializing. The tool has guided…
This year has been one of those that will, for the rest of our lives, divide time into before and after. A global pandemic has altered so much that we assumed was static and unmoving. Unrest brought on by more and more senseless killings of Black men and women by the very people who are sworn to protect. We have a duty to ensure that we learn from this season of change and to use…
On August 20, IAALS and the University of Denver Sturm College of Law co-hosted a virtual panel discussion on how regulatory reform can help address issues of racial injustice, featuring legal industry leaders and access to justice advocates Rohan Pavuluri (Co-Founder/CEO, Upsolve), Andrea S. Jarmon (Founder, Jarmon Law Group), and Andrew Arruda (Co-Founder/CEO, ROSS Intelligence). As part of our Future of Legal Services Speaker Series, the panelists discussed issues of racial injustice…
Public trust and confidence in our government institutions is critical to the functioning of our democratic republic. While members of the public are directly involved in electing the executive and legislative branches, the judicial branch is somewhat removed from direct public engagement. By design, the public has no direct role building out and maintaining the ranks of the federal judiciary. And while there are many states that do have some form of judicial elections (for…