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Just Court ADR

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Bringing Court ADR Programs into the Courtroom

Kimberly Ackmann, May 8th, 2015

As the RSI foreclosure mediation team continues to incubate foreclosure mediation in Illinois, we have explored a variety of ways to reach out and connect with homeowners who could benefit from our programs’ services. One approach has been to establish our programs’ presence at the courthouses where homeowners are attempting to navigate the foreclosure process. Going to court can be an overwhelming or intimidating prospect for homeowners facing foreclosure. Providing information about available resources like the foreclosure mediation programs can be a great opportunity to connect with homeowners.

As the program coordinator for Illinois’ 17th Circuit’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, I began to explore whether increasing the program’s presence in the courtroom could increase our impact on the community. With this goal in mind, I recently started meeting potential parties at the Winnebago County Courthouse in Rockford. I go over to the courthouse during the foreclosure court call so that I can work directly with homeowners interested in participating in foreclosure mediation. Because I am waiting right outside the courtroom, the presiding judge can refer homeowners into the mediation program and send them directly to me for more information. I am also available to answer more general questions that homeowners or attorneys may have about the program and other area resources. In deciding to increase the presence of the foreclosure mediation program at the courthouse, I looked to other models around the state for ideas about how to proceed. Since instituting my own procedure, I’ve learned more about what can make these efforts most effective. For other programs looking to expand their court presence, here’s what I’ve learned. (more…)

Hosting an Uplifting Media Event for Foreclosure Mediation

Kimberly Ackmann, November 14th, 2014

This week Kimberly Ackmann, our Foreclosure Mediation Program Coordinator, 17th Judicial Circuit, contributes her first blog post about her program’s successful event.

When my colleague Shawn Davis and I were asked to plan a publicity event for our foreclosure mediation program in one week’s time, it amazed me how many things we had to think about that were not foreclosure. I did not have any previous knowledge about press releases or media events, but I was able to get feedback and pointers from our whole foreclosure mediation team. In the end the event was a great success, because we were able to manage the details. For anyone who may need to promote an ADR program like this, here’s an outline of what we did. (more…)