To say that Sandra Day O’Connor fundamentally changed the legal landscape for good is really only a beginning, not a summation, of the contributions she made.A daughter of the West, her first job after graduating from high school two years early and Stanford Law School at a breathtaking two-year clip was to work as an unpaid county attorney. She turned
Continue Reading Sandra Day O'Connor: The Consummate Cowgirl

We at IAALS are among the many saddened by the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. A trailblazer in many regards, Justice O’Connor left an indelible legacy on our judicial system: one committed to fairness, equality, and the rule of law over gender or background, and to always seeking consensus, however divisive the issue.Born in 1930 in
Continue Reading IAALS Honors Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Commits to Carrying on her Legacy

Judicial performance evaluation (JPE) programs have existed across the U.S. for almost 50 years and were designed to assess the job performance of judges. These assessments center not on case outcomes but rather on desirable judicial qualities: legal knowledge, impartiality, written and oral communication, judicial temperament, and administrative capacity. All JPE programs share the goal of helping judges improve at
Continue Reading The Future of Judicial Performance Evaluation: Reinvigorating a Cornerstone of Public Trust

Our Allied Legal Professionals: A National Framework for Program Growth report provides a comprehensive overview of the discussions held during our 2022 convening, including agreement on best practices, differences in program approaches, and insights gained from current programs. In previous posts, here and here, we explored key recommendation areas crucial to allied legal professional programs, encompassing aspects like establishing suitable
Continue Reading So You Want to Implement an Allied Legal Professional Program, Part 3

We are witnessing a renaissance in the legal profession—one characterized by new and renewed questions about how we provide legal services, who can provide them, and how those in our profession are educated and licensed. And this has ushered in a slew of novel programs, pilots, and projects to test our various theories about how we might make our legal
Continue Reading Embedding Data Collection in Innovation

Last month, the American Legal Technology Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, showcased groundbreaking legal technologies, several of which are part of Utah’s pioneering regulatory sandboxRasa Legal clinched the Startup category with its mission to make the expungement process simpler and more affordable. Their advanced software streamlines eligibility determination and document preparation, tackling the complexities of clearing criminal records. Founder
Continue Reading Award-Winning Legal Tech Startups Are Reshaping the Future of Justice

Oregon made history this week by becoming the first U.S. state to introduce a new pathway for attorney licensing, allowing law school graduates to become licensed lawyers without the need for the traditional bar exam or graduating from an in-state law school. The Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination requires graduates to complete 675 hours of legal work under the guidance of
Continue Reading Oregon Becomes Trailblazer in New Attorney Licensing Pathway, Task Force to Receive Award

Since 2019, IAALS has been at the forefront of efforts to rethink how we regulate the delivery of legal services and how we can create a consumer-centered regulatory system to ensure a more robust market for high-quality legal services—one that is competitive, broadly accessible, and better meets the needs of the people.Over the past four years, we’ve witnessed California’s attempt
Continue Reading Building a Consumer-Centered Legal Market: Takeaways from IAALS’ Convening on Regulatory Reform

Over the past 10 years—since Washington State implemented the first allied legal professional (ALP) program—there has been a steady increase in states interested in developing their own program. Alongside this increased desire has also been increased skepticism from attorneys that someone without a Juris Doctor can provide competent legal services. However, this concern for consumer protection—whether altruistic or coated in
Continue Reading Balancing Consumer Protection and Consumer Access with Alternative Legal Service Providers

The Utah Bar Admissions Working Group has issued its final report outlining recommendations for a novel approach to attorney licensure in Utah, and the proposed new pathway is currently before the Utah Supreme Court for consideration. This recommended pathway is built upon the empirically based definition of minimum competence developed through IAALS’ Building a Better Bar research. During the
Continue Reading Utah Bar Admissions Working Group Proposes Novel Pathway Grounded in IAALS’ Research

In April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court secured a liberal majority for the first time in 15 years with the election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz. The former Milwaukee County judge’s campaign received robust financial support from Democrats, setting the stage for a court that many hoped would revisit several contentious issues. However, this political shift has emphasized the downsides of
Continue Reading Wisconsin Impeachment Demonstrates the Problem with Judicial Elections

Many states are rethinking how legal services are delivered and regulated in an effort to close the justice gap and connect more people with the help they need when they experience a legal issue. Whether it be implementing a regulatory sandbox, eliminating Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4 to allow alternative business structures to participate in the legal market, or
Continue Reading Data Plays a Critical Role in Regulatory Innovation

IAALS’ report, Building a Better Bar: The Twelve Building Blocks of Minimum Competence, provides the first-ever empirically grounded definition of the minimum competence required to practice law. Our comprehensive study found that minimum competence consists of 12 interlocking “building blocks,” which reveal not only what it takes to be a minimally competent lawyer, but how current licensing systems must
Continue Reading Better Lawyer Licensing, Part 4: The Final Three Building Blocks of Minimum Competence

One of the questions asked in response to the pandemic was whether the pandemic was a black swan or a gray rhino. Black swans are high-profile events that are hard to predict—rare or even unimaginable events. Such events have shaped history in the areas of technology, science, business, and culture; as our world becomes more connected, the consequences of
Continue Reading Black Swans, Gray Rhinos, and Lessons from the Pandemic for our Justice System

IAALS has opened the nomination window for the 2024 Alli Gerkman Legal Visionary Award, which recognizes innovators who have made significant impacts early in their legal careers toward making the American legal system work better for everyone. Nominations will be accepted through December 1, and the award will be presented in April 2024. The award is designed to encourage and showcase
Continue Reading Nomination Window Opens to Award the 2024 Legal Visionary