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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Housing Matters

Shawn Davis, October 10th, 2014

Last Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to attend the Housing Matters conference hosted by Housing Action Illinois, a statewide coalition formed to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing throughout the state. Their annual conference is designed to bring together housing counseling agencies, homeless service providers, developers of affordable housing and policymakers. The conference was filled with valuable information and was a great opportunity for RSI to connect with the housing counselors, legal aid providers and research experts that help make our foreclosure mediation programs successful.

A few of the workshops that I attended really stood out as applicable to the foreclosure mediation work that RSI is doing. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Mediate High-Conflict Cases: Balance and Control

Jennifer Shack, October 3rd, 2014

Like a lot of ADR researchers, I’m always interested to know what really happens in the black box that is the mediation session. So, when someone pries the box open to look inside, my eyes light up.  Researchers have begun using conversation analysis to uncover what happens in mediation that leads to successful outcomes. (Mary Novak wrote about another example of this fascinating research method before in this blog.) The latest contribution to this research comes from Norway, with a study of 154 custody mediations.

The study by Peder Kjøs, Odd Arne Tjersland and Katrina Roen, described in “The Mediation Window: Regulation of Argumentation and Affect in Custody Mediation,” (Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, Vol 55, Issue 7, pp 527-538), focused on the 38 cases that were considered to be high-conflict. In those cases, successful mediators were found to control the course of the conversation and effectively move it between emotional content and factual content. This contrasts with the actions of the mediators in the unsuccessful mediations. Those mediators tended to steer away from emotional issues and focus more on factual ones. Read the rest of this entry »

Please Support the Renovation of!

Susan M. Yates, September 26th, 2014

RSI is in the final months of a total renovation of – the preeminent national source for advice and information about court-related ADR – and we need your help.  A generous donor has offered a new $5,000 matching grant to help us over the finish line. Every dollar you give will be matched 1:1 by our anonymous friend. Please click here to make a  tax-deductible contribution today so that we can finish the renovation by the end of the year!

On the renovated site:

  • RSI experts will offer all-new in-depth guidance to design, manage and evaluate every phase of a court ADR system
  • The face of the site will have more intuitive architecture, making it easier for you to find what you need
  • The inner workings of the site will be totally restructured, providing a more robust search with tailored results

All these improvements are being built around the core information – thousands of articles, rules, laws, research and program reports – that you and others expect from RSI.

RSI is very grateful that the JAMS Foundation generously underwrote half the costs of the renovation with a matching grant. Many big-hearted individuals matched that JAMS grant. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens with tech projects, the costs have risen. A simple way to access information requires complex technology.

We don’t usually use this blog to ask for your support; but we need your help now. If you would like to mail a check, please make it out to RSI and send it to RSI, 11 East Adams St., Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60603. Your tax-deductible support will help ensure that courts nationwide have free access to high-quality support for their ADR programs.


The Ups and Downs of ADR Policymaking

Mary Novak, September 17th, 2014

This is the story of how a law intended to increase mediation use led to a dramatic drop-off in mediation and what was done to try to fix the error.

In April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act came into force in England and Wales. The law cut legal aid, which formerly had been available for nearly all civil cases. In family law, legal aid for court cases was now only available for cases that involved allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. However, government funding for mediation of family case was increased by ten million pounds.  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Labor Day Got to Do with ADR?

Susan M. Yates, August 29th, 2014

For a while in the evolution of the ADR field, when two neutrals met they would sometimes ask what the other’s “profession of origin” was. What they meant was, “what did you do before you were a mediator?” There were some unspoken questions packed in there, too. They wanted to know, are you a full-time neutral or are you really from some other profession and trying to break into this one? And mostly I think they wanted to know, are you like me? Are you a lawyer, a therapist…?

I haven’t heard this question much recently. Maybe that is partly because ADR really is sinking into our society. Kids are mediating on playgrounds and deciding in college that they want to be mediators. Young adults are getting Masters Degrees in conflict resolution and looking to change the world. More people see mediation as their first career of choice, not the one they move to when they are tired of their original plan.

Even as conflict resolution increasingly becomes part of our everyday life, I would like to pay homage to a profession of origin that seems to be lost in the haze of ADR history. Thank you to the mediators and arbitrators who came from the labor relations field. Read the rest of this entry »