American Judges Association



Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 54, Issue 2 (2018)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) is a national independent research center at the University of Denver, a “think tank” that seeks to create practical solutions for the challenges in the American legal system. IAALS has pursued a number of research projects addressing civil case management. In their latest report, Redefining Case Management, IAALS draws on their accumulated experience and tackles some of the cultural and systemic changes needed to implement more pervasive and effective case management. In addition to research, IAALS and its partners, such as the American College of Trial Lawyers and the National Center for State Courts, have been assisting jurisdictions with pilot reform projects since 2009. They have identified ten guidelines for case management and, through nearly a decade of experience, built on them:

• Case management (CM) should be right-sized to each case.

• CM should begin at filing and be ongoing.

• Processes should be consistently applied and systematized.

• An early CM conference is key.

• CM conferences should be used to address critical issues throughout the case.

• Set a trial date early.

• Judges must be active in CM.

• Rule promptly.

• Discuss the ADR plan early.

• Monitor and measure your CM program for continuous improvement.