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On December 7, 2021, IAALS co-hosted the fourth session of the Redesigning Legal Speaker Series, bringing together an audience of more than 100 people to explore the opportunities being created by regulatory innovation for legal education. “Redesigning Legal: The Role of Legal Education, Clinics, and Legal Labs” featured a panel including:

  • Stacy Butler, director of the Innovation for Justice


Continue Reading IAALS Panel Stresses Need for Funding, ‘Mavericks’ in Legal Education Innovation

The comment below was submitted to the State Bar of California in support of the proposed Paraprofessional Program. The program would authorize paraprofessionals to provide legal advice in areas such as family, consumer debt, landlord/tenant, employment/income, and collateral criminal cases, as well as represent parties in court (excluding jury trials).It is understandable that some attorneys view the proposal of the
Continue Reading A Paralegal's Perspective on the Proposed California Paraprofessional Program

In the play and movie 1776, there is a scene where the Continental Congress is considering amendments to the Declaration of Independence. Some members warn that provisions might offend the King; others that provisions might offend Parliament. Finally, John Adams erupts in exasperation (expletive deleted), “This is a revolution . . . We’ve got to offend somebody!”In January 2019, the
Continue Reading A Revolution that Shouldn't Offend Anybody: A Swiss Army Knife to Help Courts and Parties

This fall, IAALS launched the Paths to Justice Summit Series, a series of virtual convenings and webinars focused on the most pressing issues currently faced by our justice system, including the opportunities and challenges of the pandemic, inequities in access, and deepening concerns regarding public trust and confidence. The first two convenings and webinars focused specifically on the paths
Continue Reading The Paths to Access: Courts Must Look Within and Beyond Justice System

IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, in partnership with the Denver Law Firm Coalition for Racial Equity (the Coalition), have published a report detailing best practices and recommendations to recruit, retain, and advance racially diverse attorneys. The Denver Law Firm Coalition for Racial Equity Convening Summary Report is the outcome of leaders across Denver’s legal community
Continue Reading Denver Law Firm Coalition Creates Blueprint to Advance Racial Equity

The California State Bar is no stranger to controversy, and its recent work in legal regulatory reform has garnered its fair share. While the bar has been exploring solutions to the monumental crisis in access to quality, affordable legal services (related to restrictions on the unauthorized practice of law, non-attorney ownership/investment, and other regulatory matters) in earnest since 2018, recent
Continue Reading California Lawmakers Ignore Data in Calls to Restrict the Expansion of Legal Services

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many predicted the rise in housing, unemployment, and bankruptcy cases that would result from business closures, layoffs, and medical bills. As America continues to navigate this public-health crisis, however, some lawyers are noting an increase in another type of case: divorce.  According to a September New York Times article, figures from the
Continue Reading In the Wake of Rising Divorce Rates, Technology Can Offer a Hand

The comment below, based on spoken remarks, was submitted by IAALS to the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors on November 30, 2021, in support of the Proposed Oregon Legal Paraprofessional Licensing Program.Hello, my name is Natalie Knowlton. I am the Director of Special Projects at IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University
Continue Reading IAALS' Comment In Support of the Proposed Oregon Legal Paraprofessional Licensing Program

The comment below was submitted by IAALS to the Michigan Supreme Court and the Lessons Learned Committee in response to the state’s preliminary report, Michigan Trial Courts: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic of 2020-21, Preliminary Findings, Best Practices, and Recommendations. The report highlights the common experiences that shaped the Michigan justice system throughout the pandemic.We write on behalf of
Continue Reading IAALS’ Comment to the Michigan Supreme Court on Virtual Proceedings and Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Last week was the twelfth annual National Celebration of Pro Bono, bringing attention to the vast need for affordable (and no-cost) legal services and recognizing the attorneys who step up to provide them. As Americans continue grappling with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, including employment, debt-collection, and housing issues, access to legal services is more critical than ever, and
Continue Reading To Close the Justice Gap, We Must Look Beyond Lawyers

Throughout the past 18 months, the pandemic has been a shared experience across our state, our country, and our world, yet everyone has experienced it uniquely. The same is true of our courts, which have taken different paths to the same goal: continuing access to justice and continuity of services—be it virtually or in person. The challenges they faced brought
Continue Reading The Paths of the Pandemic: Courts Must Continue to Innovate and Learn from Rapid Changes

The Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush issued an Order in September 2019 creating the Family Law Taskforce (FLT), which was directed to: 1) analyze the research on court reform; 2) assess the impact of innovations in other states; 3) identify innovative strategies to significantly improve court processes; and 4) provide a written report of findings and recommendations. In an
Continue Reading Indiana Takes Steps to Improve Family Justice, Adopts 13 Principles for Reform

Throughout 2020, we saw just about every aspect of the legal profession move from in-person to virtual services. From law schools and the bar exam to law firms and even courts, no institution was exempt. There have been a number of horror stories, including bar exam software shutting down mid-exam and a domestic abuser hiding just off screen to intimidate
Continue Reading The Future of the Legal Profession: In Person or Virtual?

One of us is a law student. The other is a law professor. We’re both advocates for reforming legal education, particularly through expanded access to experiential learning opportunities. We’re critical of the 150-year-old model of legal education that relies on passive learning and summative assessment. And we’re in decent company. See, for example, Jerome Frank in 1933, the New
Continue Reading A Conversation about Project-Based Learning

Who can forget that iconic moment on The Oprah Winfrey Show when everyone in the audience received a car? Oprah stood on stage, yelling and pointing: “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everyone gets a car!” For those following regulatory reform efforts around the country, the regulatory sandbox feels a bit like that. Every day,
Continue Reading What’s in a Name: The Reality Behind the Rhetoric of Regulatory Sandboxes

Editor’s Note: Anna Carpenter, Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, is the inaugural recipient of the Alli Gerkman Legal Visionary Award, which recognizes innovators who have made significant impacts early in their legal careers toward making our legal system work better for everyone. The nomination window for the
Continue Reading A Conversation with Anna Carpenter, Inaugural Alli Gerkman Legal Visionary Award Recipient