BAR NEWS HIGHLIGHT
By SCOTT BALES
As the new executive director of IAALS—the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver—I welcome this opportunity to introduce myself and to talk a bit about IAALS.
From Arizona to Colorado
I became executive director in September 2019 after the retirement of Founding Executive Director Rebecca Love Kourlis. One of the first questions people ask me is why I chose to join IAALS after I retired from Arizona's Supreme Court upon completing my term as Chief Justice. Joining IAALS was, in some ways, not a big move for me. Arizona and Colorado are neighboring mountain states. Granted, Colorado has bigger mountains (and smaller deserts) and our shared border is very short.
Apart from standing in both states at once at the Four Corners, my wife and I have other Colorado connections. She was the daughter of an Air Force officer and spent more of her childhood in Colorado Springs than anywhere else, including graduating from Doherty High School. My father retired from teaching at Colorado Northwestern Community College. We are both outdoor enthusiasts and have enjoyed many vacations in Southwestern Colorado with our children and friends over the years.
While I love the natural beauty of Colorado, that was not what drew me to IAALS. I had met Becky and learned about IAALS while serving as an Arizona justice. Our courts—like many others—had looked to IAALS as a guide for improving our processes for judicial selection and evaluation, reforming our court processes for civil and family court cases, and encouraging greater access to legal services. I also knew that Becky had assembled a great team at IAALS because Brittany Kauffman, who leads IAALS' civil justice work, and Natalie Knowlton, who directs the work related to family court reforms, had each spoken at Arizona court conferences or helped court committees there.
I was surprised when Becky told me she intended to step down as executive director, but I was intrigued when she asked if I might be interested in the position. I had greatly enjoyed my 14years as a judge and my 20 years as a lawyer in private practice (as a partner in the Phoenix firms that later became Osborn Maledon and Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie) and in public settings (as...