Latest from IAALS Blog

I am thrilled to have officially joined IAALS as CEO on June 1. Throughout my career—including serving a combined 14 years as law school dean at Hofstra University and Loyola University Chicago, as well as president of Marist College—I’ve had the tremendous privilege of championing values near to my heart: service and the rule of law. That’s why stepping into the CEO position at IAALS, an organization committed to advancing justice for all people and…
On June 9, IAALS co-hosted the first session of the Redesigning Legal Speaker Series, bringing together over 150 people to learn about and discuss the regulatory changes underway, the challenges they face, and the opportunities they provide. “Leading from the Bench—Expanding Access through Regulatory Innovation” featured a panel including Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer of Arizona, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack of Michigan, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht of Texas, and Chief Justice Matthew Durrant of…
In May, the National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) at Fordham Law School published the latest iteration of the Justice Index, a national survey of state civil justice policies that provides “a snapshot of the degree to which each U.S. state has adopted best practices for ensuring access to justice for all people.” The NCAJ examined policies across four civil justice areas—attorney access, support for self-represented litigants, language access, and disability access—and assigned…
What qualities do Americans want in their state judges? Professor Herbert Kritzer, the Marvin J. Sonosky Chair of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, addresses the question in the Spring 2021 issue of Judicature. In a national online survey, Kritzer asked respondents to rate the importance of 12 characteristics of a judge, six of which captured professional qualities (such as a reputation for integrity or respect from leaders of the legal…
Last October, IAALS published the groundbreaking report Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence, containing clear, evidence-based recommendations and guideposts for improving the bar exam and lawyer licensing. At the core of the recommendations is an empirically based definition of the minimum competence needed to practice law—something the legal profession has never had and the bar exam has never tested for. To form this definition, we held focus groups consisting…
Pilot projects have long been used when implementing reforms—they provide a smaller-scale testing ground to administer the changes, they create an opportunity to gain broader support for innovation, and they allow for evaluation and improvement prior to broader adoption. Throughout the past year, our courts, in many ways, have been engaged in informal pilot projects; they’ve tried out different technologies and processes, all in an effort to continue the administration of justice amid the COVID-19…
On May 1, amendments to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect, several of which provide better notice of parties’ rights and obligations at the outset and throughout a lawsuit. The rule amendments are also paired with judicial council-approved forms that include notice of rights in plain language and in multiple languages. Notice and Service of the Complaint Utah Rule 4(c)(1) now requires that a party filing a complaint provide notice with a…
In a guest column for the Montana Standard, former Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson calls for the implementation of a merit-based judicial selection process to keep Montana’s courts free from partisanship and outside influence. “We need to change this whole system so as to ensure that the judiciary remains fair, independent, impartial, and competent,” writes Justice Nelson, who is now retired from the bench. His op-ed comes after a new Montana law
In March, IAALS wrapped up our Pandemic Positives Speaker Series, bringing together a number of courts and legal service providers who, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, transformed their day-to-day operations to continue serving the public. These organizations quickly implemented new processes for providing both in-person and virtual services, ensuring access to information and assistance to those who cannot afford an attorney. With the pandemic still ongoing, and in an effort to share…
Last summer, I joined IAALS on an interim basis to lead the institute and to chair a national search for my successor. My interim role will end soon. With the help of Heidrick & Struggles, we recruited an exceptional leader, David Yellen. David and I are transitioning ahead of his June 1 start, and I am more excited than ever for IAALS’ future! To the uncommonly talented IAALS team, thank you for welcoming me…