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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

What is Court ADR? Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

Jennifer Shack, October 2nd, 2015

How can you make good decisions if the information you have is limited or wrong? That’s the question that drove me to the fields of research and program evaluation – good policy and effective programs are passions of mine, and there’s no way to have either without accurate, reliable information. It’s also the question that ran through my head as I read the article, “To Mediate in Court or out of Court, that is the Question” in Financier Worldwide. In the article, the author distinguishes between court and private mediation in a way that is not consistent with the wide variety of court and private mediation that exists in the United States. The article provides a good example of the misconceptions I often see in articles about mediation, misconceptions that can lead to poor decisions about the use of mediation.  Read the rest of this entry »

Ensuring Safety in Family Cases: Screening for Intimate Partner Violence

Jennifer Shack, August 28th, 2015

While the debate continues as to whether cases in which a party has alleged intimate partner violence (IPV) should be mediated, new research adds to the evidence that current screening may not be identifying all family cases in which violence has occurred in the relationship. As discussed in, “Detection of Intimate Partner Violence and Recommendation for Joint Family Mediation: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Two Screening Measures” (21 Psychol. Pub. Pol’y & L. 239) [subscription required], the researchers found that when ADR program staff used a common type of screening procedure, reports of IPV were lower than when using a screen that asked more specific questions about what occurred in the relationship. Read the rest of this entry »

Courting Funds: How to Finance an ADR Program

Eric Slepak, August 20th, 2015

Recently, an administrator from a southern US state reached out to RSI with questions concerning financial support for court ADR programs. After having a substantially well-funded program for many years, the state was hit hard by the recession and had to cut many services. Hoping to rebuild the robustness of her state’s ADR offerings, she reached out to RSI about developing a proposal for a new pilot program, asking specifically how to finance such an undertaking. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting to Know You

Eric Slepak, August 19th, 2015

Prior to becoming the new Resource Center Director for Resolution Systems Institute last month, I was informed (warned?) that this role was one that required versatility. As with most undertakings in life, there was no way to truly comprehend what that disclaimer meant until I had plunged full speed into this role. Just over a month in, my CV can now include drafting press releases to help promote RSI’s Attorney General-funded Illinois Foreclosure Mediation Programs, proposing long-term strategies for the growth of our Resource Center and researching avenues of development and fundraising to continue RSI’s efforts in administering court ADR programs. Had you tasked Franz Kafka to write my job description, he would have resigned in protest, claiming, “It’s too abstract!” Read the rest of this entry »

Charting Familiar Territory: Illinois Foreclosure Mediation Programs

Mary Rose Richter, August 7th, 2015

Since I began my internship at RSI, I have embraced the organization’s mission of enhancing court ADR systems through program development, research and access to resources. I have worked on a variety of projects regarding different aspects of the RSI mission and have learned that in order to create new resources, a great deal of time and effort must be put into careful analysis and in-depth research of reliable information.

Over the last month, I focused my time and effort into creating a new resource: a full chart of the Illinois foreclosure mediation programs. Foreclosure mediation, which helps homeowners effectively communicate with lenders about their homes, is one specific area of court ADR in which RSI is deeply involved. RSI has been providing research and resources on foreclosure mediation programs since the housing crisis started and has successfully developed and now administers three foreclosure mediation programs in northern Illinois.

Currently, Illinois has a total of eleven foreclosure mediation programs throughout the state (below, you will find individual charts, or “snapshots”, for each of these programs). Read the rest of this entry »