Facebook recently announced its creation of a self-guided dispute resolution system for users. The company has designed a new user-to-user conflict resolution system that could have implications for court ADR systems as well. Read the rest of this entry »
I love Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog, especially when he covers programs like the one offered by San Diego, California courts to accomplish divorce in a single day. Zorza cites a New York Times piece to explain how the process works. The divorcing couple files for divorce and reaches agreement on everything: property, debts, child-related issues, etc. Then the couple goes to court and a court coordinator helps ensure they have all the necessary documents and they are completed correctly. With the paperwork in order, the couple can get their divorce the same day.
One of the things that makes this program unusual is that the court provides a coordinator who does not give legal advice, but who does help the divorcing couple ensure their documents are in order and help fill in any missing pieces if needed. Read the rest of this entry »
The story of the Detroit bankruptcy mediation’s emerging “Grand Bargain” (as it has been dubbed in the media) is a fascinating case of many different groups working to protect their chosen interests. The bargain demonstrates how mediation allows parties to consider what they are willing to give in order to secure the things that matter most to them, and how traditional rivals may collaborate for a shared goal. Where litigation must have winners and losers, the proposed mediated bargain seeks to avoid that. Instead, it involves a complex balancing act in which many parties give a little to get a little — if “a little” is the right way to describe the potential movement of hundreds of millions of dollars. Read the rest of this entry »
Just the other day, I learned the term “sunk-cost bias” and immediately thought of the mortgage foreclosure work that I do. The term was new to me, but the concept was not: sunk-cost bias describes why it’s so hard for us to walk away from something and cut our losses (and explains why I spent 3 hours waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland). With sunk-cost bias, our minds go through a process of telling us that we should hold on because otherwise the time, money and energy already invested would be a waste, even when such a decision is irrational and just sinks us further in the hole. The concept can have very real implications for more serious life choices, like whether or not to remain in a home once in foreclosure. Read the rest of this entry »
You’re a judge charged with overseeing a voluntary civil case mediation program in your court. Because you’ve been monitoring your program, you know that, though 75% of cases going through mediation are reaching agreement, the program isn’t doing much to reduce judges’ workloads because mediation generally occurs very late in the case. What do you do?
You have at least three options: Read the rest of this entry »