CEO/Executive Director, Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System

Job description

Nominations and applications for the position should be directed


IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, seeks a new CEO/Executive Director. A national, independent research center, located at and partnering with the University of Denver (DU), IAALS is dedicated to facilitating continuous improvement and excellence in the American legal system, with emphasis on the civil justice system. The work of IAALS is especially important as the United States faces unexpected challenges such as COVID-19s threats to lives and livelihoods, and as the imperatives of racial justice shape our national agenda. IAALS non-partisan and proven research and consensus-building methods are well-suited to address opportunities for change.

Founded in 2006 by DU Chancellor Emeritus Daniel L. Ritchie, Denver attorney and bar leader John E. Moye, business leader and philanthropist Charles C. Gates, and former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis, IAALS proactively forges innovative and practical solutions based on extensive research, and broad engagement and convenings of experts and users. IAALS works to empower the best ideals of the American legal system, expanding access, removing inefficiencies, and delivering services in relevant and creative ways. The Institute is committed to restoring fairness, function, and the publics faith in our system.

Position Summary

IAALS focuses its efforts on big, systemic problems in our legal system that impact millions of Americans for which there are achievable solutions. IAALS seeks an experienced, inspiring individual to lead the Institute and this work with energy and urgency; to serve as the public face of IAALS and be responsible for its overall management in achieving IAALS mission.

This is a unique opportunity for an innovative professional and proven leader to join this dynamic and nationally-respected organization, leading a talented staff and working with a committed Board.

This individual will lead the critical work of IAALS going forward, including:

  • Redesigning the civil justice system to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century, focused on the end user, to ensure our system is relevant and accessible for the people it is meant to serve.
  • Reworking the system so that it is navigable for people regardless of level of representation, so all can achieve fair outcomes.
  • Reexamining the regulatory constructs of the legal profession with an eye to which of them ultimately serve or disserve the clients.
  • Developing more robust tools for selecting and evaluating judges that honor both accountability and impartiality.
  • Ensuring law students get better value for their tuition dollars, legal employers can hire more qualified candidates, and ultimately clients receive better service.
  • Marshaling and implementing solutions designed to address declining trust in the courts.
  • Tackling issues of access to justice, racial equality, and diversity on the bench.


In addition to holding a Masters, J.D., or PhD or other equivalent experience, this person will have:

  • Relevant, Legal Leadership and Background: 7-10+ years of demonstrated senior leadership experience leading a company or nonprofit, an academic entity such as a research institute or law school, branch of a court system, law firm, corporate law department, or relevant government agency or other enterprise related to the legal system. Familiarity-and prior engagement-with issues facing the courts, legal profession, and legal education. Legal, policy and/or government experience at the state or federal level a plus.
  • Management and Team Building Experience: Experience and demonstrated ability in identifying talent and building, mentoring, and leading a team, as well as managing both teams and systems. Ability to establish priorities for an organization with clearly articulated responsibilities.
  • Stakeholder Management: Ability to build working relationships with key stakeholders, including regional and national organizations, the public sector, relevant corporate entities and the University.
  • Fundraising : Aptitude for fundraising; ability to motivate donors and grantmaking institutions by building relationships and seeing opportunities to work together.
  • Passion for the mission of IAALS: Ability to motivate others through a passion for the work of IAALS and for justice and the rule of law. Belief in the importance of addressing issues facing the courts, legal profession, and legal education, and in IAALS practical, solutions-oriented, and non-partisan approach.
  • Visionary, entrepreneurial leader and strong communicator: Ability to articulate a vision and engage others to achieve it; to identify new opportunities to advance and grow an organization and work with others to seize them. Creative communicator who leverages technology. Exceptional writing, speaking and critical thinking skills, with the ability to present complex material both to audiences of individuals in the field, as well as to audiences of business leaders and beyond. Effective presence and gravitas.
  • High EQ: Emotional intelligence, with the ability to read others and their cues while being self-aware; treating everyone with courtesy and respect. Demonstrated values of personal integrity and accountability, modeled for a skilled and committed IAALS team.




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Job No: 493256
Posted: 9/15/2020
Application Due: 11/14/2020
Work Type:
Salary: Negotiable