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My Favorite Resource Featuring Kevin Malone

Nicole Wilmet, August 29th, 2018

Our series, My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our court ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resource. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with Kevin Malone, RSI’s Program Manager for the 16th Circuit Kane County Child Protection and Foreclosure Mediation Programs to learn about his favorite ADR resource.

NW: What is your favorite ADR Resource?

KM: I have several that I rely on, but the one I return to time and again is The Making of a Mediator by Michael Lang and Alison Taylor.

NW: Why do you value this particular resources?

KM: This book provides a great process for bridging the gap between theory and practice. Lang and Taylor provide tools to figure out what a mediator is good at, what they need to work on, and how to find that sweet spot between developing a mediator’s skills and tapping into a mediator’s talents.

NW: How did you first learn about this resources?

KM: It was assigned reading for my graduate work at the University of Denver’s Center for Conflict Resolution. I revisited the book when I began working as a co-mediator for our Child Protection Mediation Program.

NW: For those unfamiliar with this resource, what is one part of this resource that you wouldn’t want someone to miss? 

KM: Lang and Taylor have a chapter that walks the reader through their “constellation of theories”. A mediator will be able to figure out what theories they have tucked away and how those theories impact their practice of mediation. I have found this to be a very powerful tool in self-assessment and recommend all the mediators in my program at least once try something similar.

If you have a favorite resource you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our newsletter, please reach out to our Resource Center Director and Court ADR Connection Editor, Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org!

U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan Launches Pilot Mediation Program for Pro Se Prisoners

Nicole Wilmet, August 27th, 2018

In June, the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan launched a two-year pilot mediation program for pro se prisoners. The Early Mediation Program for Pro Se Prisoner Civil Rights Cases will offer mediation as an alternative to litigation for pro se prisoners who have filed federal civil rights lawsuits against the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”). In its press release, the court reports that, in 2017, Michigan prisoners filed 248 civil rights suits in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Among these cases, 97% of prisoners were pro se litigants.

Under the new pilot program, the District County Clerk’s Office notifies pro se prisoners about the pilot program when they file. After filing, court staff attorneys screen the prisoners’ civil rights cases. As the court explains, screening eliminates about half of the lawsuits filed due to prisoners’ not stating a legal claim, suing the wrong party, or seeking damages from someone who is entitled to legal immunity. If a case makes it through this screening, prisoners are required to watch an orientation video about the program. They also receive a packet from the court that contains additional information about the program, as well as information on how to file a motion to be excluded from the program. After screening, prisoner civil rights suits are stayed for 90 days and then referred to mediation.

As the court expounds, prisoners who choose to participate in the mediation program will participate in mediation via video conferencing from prison. Meanwhile, the mediator, prison officials, and a state lawyer will interact with prisoners during mediation from the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit. If parties are able to reach a settlement during mediation, the parties’ agreement will be added to the record and the court will enter an order dismissing the case, but will retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of agreement. If parties do not settle the case within 90 days, the case will proceed forward in the litigation process.

With respect to neutrals, the court notes that 40 lawyers who have completed Paul Monicatii’s mediator training curriculum will serve as the program’s mediators. These mediators will be participating in the program without compensation.

Those interested in learning more about the program may read more about it here or contact David Ashenfelter, Public Information Officer for the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan, at David_Ashenfelter@mied.uscourts.gov to obtain a copy of the press release.

My Favorite Resource Featuring Raeshann Canady

Nicole Wilmet, August 2nd, 2018

Our series, My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our court ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resource. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with Raeshann Canady the Court Division Administrator for the Eighth Judicial District Court Clark County, Nevada, to learn about her favorite ADR resource.

NW: What is your favorite ADR Resource?

RC: I have two favorite ADR resources.  One is a training manual I received while taking an advanced mediation training with Ken Cloke, “Advanced Mediation Training: Maintaining Dialogue and Overcoming Impasse,” and one is the Resolution Systems Institute newsletter.

NW: Why do you value these particular resources?

RC: Both resources include information about research related to mediation.  Incorporating evidence-informed decision making into my practice is very important.

NW: How did you first learn about these resources?

RC: I learned about both resources from a faculty member at UNLV’s Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution.

NW: For those unfamiliar with these resources, what is one part of this resource that you wouldn’t want someone to miss? 

 RC: Don’t miss Ken Cloke’s discussion about research on “priming” and don’t miss the research-related section of RSI’s newsletter.

If you have a favorite resource you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our Court ADR Connection newsletter, please reach out to our Resource Center Director and Court ADR Connection Editor, Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org!

Rhode Island Passes Legislation to Extend Foreclosure Mediation

Nicole Wilmet, July 31st, 2018

In May, I reported that the Rhode Island foreclosure mediation program was in jeopardy of ending on July 1, 2018 without legislative intervention. In June, the Rhode Island legislature intervened to extend the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Act.

Enacted in 2013, the Rhode Island’s Foreclosure Mediation Act grants homeowners who face foreclosure the opportunity to meet with their lender and an independent mediator to try to work out a solution to avoid foreclosure. According to the Providence Journal, since 2013 the Foreclosure Mediation Act has helped 679 families stay in their homes. As I reported in May, the House and Senate sponsored two different versions of the bill with the Senate version extending the sunset provision to July 1, 2023 and the House version repealing the sunset provision entirely. In May, the Senate voted and passed their version of the bill while the House Judiciary Committee recommended that their version of the bill be held for further study.

On June 28, 2018, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Senate version of the bill into law. Under the new law, the Foreclosure Mediation Act’s sunset provision has been extended to July 1, 2023.

My Favorite Resource Featuring Rebecca Price

Nicole Wilmet, July 3rd, 2018

Our series, My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our court ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resource. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with Rebecca Price, the Director of ADR Program at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”), to learn about her favorite ADR resource.

NW: What is your favorite ADR Resource?

RP: My favorite ADR resources are my colleagues in and around other court ADR programs. This includes the relatively small number of other full time directors of federal district court ADR programs, the Federal Judicial Center, the local Community Dispute Resolution Center programs, and the SDNY Mediator Advisory Committee. Many of these people have been doing this work for decades and have nuanced and practical perspectives about court-annexed ADR.

NW: Can you share an example of when you turned to your network for support?

RP: There are so many! As a recent example, the SDNY is currently exploring automatic protocols for both personal injury and disability access cases. I reached out to colleagues in other federal courts for information about existing protocols and am working with the SDNY Mediator Advisory Committee to develop draft protocols. In 2013, the SDNY partnered with the New York City Bar Association to develop a mediator evaluation protocol. One of our most useful resources was the Director of the Office of Court Alternative Dispute Resolution in Portland, Maine, whose protocol became the blueprint for ours.

NW: In what ways have you found that your network has been better able to serve your needs than a traditional print resource?

RP: The primary difference is that conversations are dynamic in ways that print resources are not. Designing and implementing ADR systems is complex and context dependent and a person resource can adjust recommendations based on specific constraints. For me, the ideal print resource would read more like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book than what is widely available. Having said that, I found the Maine program I referenced above in a footnote of a
journal article, so it’s important to cover your bases.

NW: What do you value most about the input you receive from other court personnel?

RP: It is so valuable to hear about what has worked or not, and why. There are some particularly special colleagues who can adjust their recommendations and information to the realities of different court programs. I also very much appreciate colleagues who speak candidly about mistakes. I learn from them and feel less isolated with my own challenges.

NW: How did you develop your network and what recommendations do you have for anyone looking to develop their own network?

RP: In an informal way, as I have worked in different places and with different people I have made connections with those I can reach out to and who can reach out to me. More intentionally, when I started my current position in 2012 there was no existing formal network for people in comparable roles. Through email and phone calls I was able to identify a group, create a listserv, and set up a date/time for monthly calls. I also realized early on that I would benefit greatly from an advisory committee of SDNY mediators. The first group created the protocols that have been followed by subsequent members, and we still meet monthly in person. What I would recommend for anyone wanting to build a network is that you create and maintain the space/time/modes of connection for the network itself, and that you commit to doing this for at least a couple of years if not more. It’s not magic, but someone needs to take responsibility for the consistency that allows networks to develop. Relatedly, the more you show up, engage, and support the efforts of others in and around your network, the more they will show up for you.

If you have a favorite resource you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our newsletter, please reach out to our Resource Center Director and Court ADR Connection Editor, Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org!