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Last August, Utah made history as the first state to establish a regulatory sandbox, providing a space for lawyers and other professionals to deliver nontraditional legal services under the supervision of the state supreme court. A year later, numerous businesses and collaborations are up and running, providing a wide range of much-needed legal services. None of this would have been possible without the groundbreaking reforms passed last fall. Despite trepidation from some in the legal community around the idea of nonlawyers providing legal services, with harm to consumers cited as one of the biggest risks, newly released data from the…
On August 24, IAALS co-hosted the second session of the Redesigning Legal Speaker Series, bringing together an audience of 145 people to learn about and discuss how lawyers and other legal professionals can help to solve access-to-justice problems using new advances in technology—while building sustainable practices at the same time. “Legal Tech—Using Technology to Build Sustainable Practices & Expand Legal Services” featured a panel including Erin Levine, founder of Hello Divorce; Chas Rampenthal, head of industry relations at LegalZoom; and Lori Gonzalez, founder of the RayNa Corporation. Their conversation was moderated by Cat Moon, director of innovation design at…
It’s no secret that the United States is deeply embroiled in a justice crisis. According to the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, the U.S. ranks 30th out of the world’s 37 high-income countries on the civil justice factor and 22nd on the criminal justice factor. Numerous studies have shone light on aspects of the crisis—some focusing on how it impacts low-income Americans, others homing in on the crisis’s effects in specific geographic regions. Now, with the new report from IAALS’ and HiiL’s joint US Justice Needs project, we have data from more than 10,000 surveyed individuals that…
In the fall of 2019, IAALS and HiiL joined forces and launched a nationwide study to assess the justice needs of individuals in the United States. Today we have released a comprehensive report summarizing the results of this study, with the goal of providing data on the problems that people experience and the ways they seek to resolve them. Understanding people’s broad need for justice—and the extent to which this need is not met—is key to understanding how our society can more effectively help them resolve their problems. Through our research, we now know what people need help with most…
IAALS and HiiL have completed the first nationwide survey of its size to measure how Americans across a broad range of socio-demographic groups experience and resolve their legal problems. The full US Justice Needs report with the survey results will be released on September 1, with two live webinars presenting the data, reporting on the outcomes, and suggesting solutions.…
Three people who’d never heard of an elephant before were blindfolded and brought forward to encounter this remarkable animal. The first felt its trunk and said, “It’s like a snake.” The second felt its side and said, “It’s like a wall.” The third felt its tail and said, “It’s like a rope.”  This parable, familiar across many cultures, was first recorded in the Buddhist text Udana 6.4 more than 2,500 years ago. It has achieved such longevity worldwide because it speaks to the universal human tendency to draw incorrect conclusions based on limited personal experience.  In the original version of…
Last week, thousands of eager candidates for state bar admission once again gathered across the country to sit for the bar exam. Echoes of the not-yet-over COVID-19 pandemic remain, with more than half of states administering the exam remotely. But, by and large, most states seem to be on a gradual path to business as usual when it comes to how we license lawyers in the United States. After all we have learned and after all the steps states took toward alternative licensing structures taken over the past year, how can this be? We have challenged the legal community…
In June 2021, the Colorado Supreme Court amended its Code of Judicial Conduct to expressly prohibit harassment, retaliation, and other inappropriate workplace behavior. The amendments are part of a more significant effort to restore public trust and confidence in the state’s judicial department after a series of misconduct allegations against judges and other judicial employees. The investigation into the former Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice—including his knowledge of all allegations—is ongoing, and no decisions or conclusions have been made. However, several other matters of recent judicial misconduct have not only shaken the judiciary’s reputation but its ability to uphold the…
2020 was a year of unprecedented change in U.S. legal regulation. Thus far, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of increasing momentum and continued transformation. We’re researchers who study legal services regulation and access to the civil justice system. We’ve been thrilled to watch groundbreaking announcements from the West ignite a wide-ranging national debate about how best to regulate legal training, services, and businesses, while simultaneously driving innovation and improving access to justice. As the debate has evolved, we’ve been paying special attention to the role people who are not lawyers are playing in the process of legal…
2020 was a year of unprecedented change in U.S. legal regulation. Thus far, 2021 is shaping up to be a year of increasing momentum and continued transformation. We’re researchers who study legal services regulation and access to the civil justice system. We’ve been thrilled to watch groundbreaking announcements from the West ignite a wide-ranging national debate about how best to regulate legal training, services, and businesses, while simultaneously driving innovation and improving access to justice. As the debate has evolved, we’ve been paying special attention to the role people who are not lawyers are playing in the process of legal…
At Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell (WTO), we’ve been fortunate to have a front-row seat to the outcomes and transformation that IAALS has achieved through Foundations for Practice and resulting efforts. After Foundations launched in 2016, WTO and IAALS collaborated to survey WTO’s partners on the characteristics that they viewed as most essential for new associates to be successful at WTO. The results have been exciting and encouraging. We knew there would be much to learn. We were unprepared, however, for quite how powerful that data would be to WTO when it came to improving retention rates and increasing diversity at the…
On June 28, the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services submitted its final report to the Florida Supreme Court, recommending that Florida adopt a Law Practice Innovation Laboratory Program. The committee had been tasked by the court with studying whether and how the rules governing the practice of law in Florida may be revised to improve the delivery of legal services to consumers, and to assure Florida lawyers play a proper and prominent role in the provision of these services. The lab, similar to Utah’s first-of-its-kind regulatory sandbox, is where recommendations approved in concept by the…
In May, the Colorado Judicial Branch announced that a pilot program allowing documents in family court cases to be filed online will expand to seven more counties. The two-year pilot program allows online filing in divorce and custody cases where litigants lack legal representation—which accounts for about three-fourths of all family law cases in Colorado. Following the expansion, 25 of the state’s 64 counties now allow documents to be filed through the Colorado Courts E-Filing system. The system includes an online dashboard that equips users to view filed cases, electronic documents that have been served, and upcoming court appearances and…
If the first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one, the second step is understanding the scope of that problem—why it exists, how it persists, and who it’s affecting. And, when it comes to civil justice problems, data must be at the core of that understanding. The Georgetown Civil Justice Data Commons (CJDC) recently made the case for “Why We Need Civil Justice Data,” laying out how those living in or near poverty also face a multitude of issues related to housing, finances, health, and overall well-being. Each of these areas can easily cross over into civil…
IAALS is pleased to announce that Amy Livingston has joined the organization as its new Director of Development. Livingston comes to IAALS after consulting with nonprofit clients and philanthropists to secure multiple transformational gifts, which strengthened maternal and newborn healthcare delivery systems in East and West Africa. She brings to IAALS over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector as an executive leader, strategic thought partner (C-Suite/Boards), philanthropic advisor, consultant, and board chair/member in the fields of healthcare, education, and conservation. Livingston received her MA in International Development with a Certificate in Global Health Affairs from the Josef Korbel School…