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

Apply now Job no: 493256
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Academic Administration

Nominations and applications for the position should be directed to

Applications submitted through PioneerJobs will NOT be considered.


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-19’s 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 public’s faith in our system. 

IAALS Vision

An American legal system that works for all people by being accessible, fair, reliable, efficient, and accountable; a system that earns trust, because a trusted and trustworthy legal system is essential to our democracy, our economy, and our freedom.

IAALS Mission

To forge innovative and practical solutions to problems within the American legal system. For additional background, please visit our website at

The University of Denver

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is an independent, doctoral-granting research university with high research activity. The University of Denver is ranked among the nation’s top 100 universities, with many of its professional schools and programs ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report. Located in the thriving city of Denver, at the foot of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, the University enrolls just under 13,000 students in its distinguished undergraduate liberal arts and sciences, graduate, and professional programs, including the Sturm College of Law.

The University of Denver is located on a 125-acre campus less than 30 minutes from downtown. Through the Denver Advantage, the University aims to integrate and engage the campus with its surrounding neighborhood, open the doors of campus to the City of Denver, and foster a greater sense of belonging for the DU community. The beautiful campus, with sweeping views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains, is also designated as an arboretum. In 2019, Business Insider ranked Denver second in its list of “50 Best Places to Live in America Right Now,” and U.S. News & World Report has rated Colorado as the nation’s top economy for the past three years.

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.

Essential Functions

Specific duties of the CEO/Executive Director include:

  • Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the American legal system and within IAALS.
  • Regularly engaging with IAALS’ Executive Committee and Board of Advisors to plan, implement and refine the trajectory of IAALS’ work.
  • Supervising, developing, and collaborating with the IAALS senior leadership team on program area development, strategic planning, operations, and fundraising.
  • Ensuring the financial stability and integrity of IAALS through responsible budgeting, planning, fundraising and stewardship.
  • Maintaining and building connections with national and international partners.
  • Raising the public profile of IAALS through speaking and teaching engagements, press interviews, civic engagement, writing and publishing opportunities, and blogs and op-eds.
  • Effectively conveying a vision of IAALS’ strategic future to staff, the board, partners, other stakeholders and donors.
  • Maintaining and enhancing collaborative efforts with other units of the University of Denver.
  • Significant commitment to travel in conjunction with conferences, networking, and execution of the IAALS mission.
  • Working with urgency and an entrepreneurial mindset to solve large-scale problems, inspiring teammates and stakeholders.
  • Thinking strategically, identifying opportunities that can benefit from the IAALS approach, and generating solutions that are relevant, timely and practical in addressing the toughest issues confronting the legal system and the legal profession.
  • Providing executive-level leadership of IAALS in a transparent and ethical manner that advances and guides the organization’s mission.
  • Serving as the primary spokesperson to the organization’s stakeholders, the media, and the public.  
  • Cultivating social and professional networks to retain and generate business relationships for IAALS.


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. 

Nominations and applications for the position should be directed to

If you have specific questions about this job description or the application process, please email Cynthia Bowling at

The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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