Academics and Research

Legal institute’s Kourlis wins prestigious John Marshall Award

Rebecca Love Kourlis published "Rebuilding Justice: Civil Courts in Jeopardy and Why You Should Care" to help fix the country's civil court system.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver, is the recipient of the 2012 John Marshall Award, presented by the American Bar Association Justice Center.

The center established the John Marshall Award to recognize those dedicated to the improvement of the administration of justice. Recipients are chosen based on their work to promote justice-system reform and public awareness about the justice system.

Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy; New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye; Sen. Howell Heflin of Alabama; and Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

Kourlis will accept the award in Chicago in August.

Kourlis is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford University School of Law. She served as a trial court judge for seven years and was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 1995, where she served for 11 years. She opened IAALS in 2006.

“John Marshall was one of the first to recognize the critical role of the courts, an impartial judiciary and the rule of law in our constitutional democracy,” Kourlis says. “IAALS is dedicated to the same ideals that John Marshall espoused. I am deeply honored to receive the John Marshall Award—and do so on behalf of IAALS, the staff, the board and the many partners who share our passion.”

John Moye, a partner in Denver’s Moye White law firm and a founder of IAALS, applauds Kourlis’ selection.

“The John Marshall Award is a fitting acknowledgement of the significant role Becky is playing in the improvement of the legal system,” Moye says.

Kourlis has received numerous honors, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Legal Reform Organization of the Year Award (2007) and the ABA Judicial Division Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Judicial Administration (2009). She is a fellow of the Colorado Bar and American Bar Foundations. In 2010, she and husband Tom were named Citizens of the West by the National Western Stock Show.

IAALS is a national, independent research center at the University of Denver dedicated to continuous improvement of the civil justice system. IAALS envisions a civil justice system that is accessible, efficient and accountable to the litigants it was designed to serve.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the world’s largest voluntary professional membership organization. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.


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