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The 2018 election season saw several efforts to remove a judge from office based on a single controversial ruling. In Alaska, Superior Court Judge Michael Corey lost his bid for retention after he approved a no-jail time plea bargain for a defendant charged with assaulting a woman in a sexual manner. In California, Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was recalled by voters after he delivered a lenient sentence to a defendant in a highly publicized…
IAALS research uncovers critical areas that shape levels of trust in the legal system and what drives public perceptions and attitudes.  IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, released Public Perspectives on Trust & Confidence in the Courts. The report reveals insights into how the public views court systems and processes, judges and the judiciary, and information about the legal system—and is the culmination of IAALS’ two-year Public Trust and
Earlier this month, the Civil Justice Council in England and Wales published a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on civil court users. Like the rest of the world, these two countries have had to adapt to new realities, including those related to the justice system. In late March, the judiciary published its Protocol Regarding Remote Hearings to help guide the County Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal as they transitioned from…
As the whole country grapples with reopening, our federal courts continue their own efforts to respond in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 24, 2020, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts distributed Federal Judiciary COVID-19 Recovery Guidelines for restoring operations, which rely heavily on the conditions of local communities as well as local and state orders and data. The guidelines note that “[b]ecause each state and municipality is in a different posture…
Many people might view the courts and the legal system as something distant that has little effect on our personal lives. And that may be true—until you need it. And then when you need it, you realize just how difficult it can be to navigate and just how out of reach justice can feel. My recent experience with the civil justice system—even pre-COVID-19—has been frustrating, to say the least. When it rains, it pours: I’ve…
The reform of lawyer and legal services regulation is a topic of growing interest in states across America, and a new report out of England and Wales contributes to the momentum around new frameworks for regulation. The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation published and submitted its final report to the Lord Chancellor today, after two years of work that included six working papers, an interim report, and meetings with more than 340 stakeholders. The review…
The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a much more virtual world. As companies and schools have clamored to move online and continue operations, so too has the American justice system. State and federal courts have worked overtime to implement video- and tele-conferencing, remote filing, and even remote jury trials in order to ensure due process. Other pioneering efforts are underway. While all of this has guarded against a total shutdown of our…
In March, Law School Transparency published LST’s 2025 Vision: A Modern Blueprint for Change, which outlines plans and proposals for law schools to become more accessible, affordable, and innovative. “When we collectively fail to address serious problems with law school access, affordability, and innovation, the legal profession loses out on people who could positively impact clients and diversify our profession. It also worsens our access to justice problem, whether because people take fewer entrepreneurial…
Our mission at IAALS is forging innovative and practical solutions to problems within the American legal system. Like others, we have been forced to assess how our work and other aspects of our lives are impacted by the new reality resulting from COVID-19. The pandemic is highlighting shortcomings of our civil justice system that many people and businesses already knew. The system is too expensive, too complicated, and too slow. Low-income people, according to estimates…
This month, The Pew Charitable Trusts released a new report that looks at trends in debt collection lawsuits in the United States and suggests steps that courts can take to modernize our state civil justice system and ensure access to justice. Pew has also called for these discussions to extend beyond state court officials, legal aid, and reform advocates to policymakers—noting that in many states “policymakers have not been a part of conversations about how…