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My Favorite Resource: A Year in Review

Nicole Wilmet, December 20th, 2019

It’s hard to believe that another year of My Favorite Resource has gone by! Much like last year, I have had such a wonderful time connecting with ADR friends across the country to learn about a wide variety of helpful and informative resources. In the spirit of sharing and reminiscing, I thought what better way to get the season started than by revisiting with all the My Favorite Resource readers all the wonderful resources from this year! Sit back, grab a cup of cocoa, and let’s begin!

  • In January,Sally Campbell, the Dispute Resolution Services Manager for the Supreme Court of Virginia, who shared about Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Attorneys and Mediators.
  • In February, Tom Valenti, dispute resolution professional and founder of Valenti Law, shared that his favorite resource is the Kluwer Mediation Blog.
  • In March, Tracy Johnson, the Executive Director at the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution, shared that one of her favorite resources is the network of colleagues she has developed through the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.
  • In April, Robyn Weinstein, ADR Administrator at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, shared her love of the New York City Dispute Resolution Listserv.
  • In May, Christine Poulson, Executive Director at Resolution Virginia, shared that her favorite resource is the National Association for Community Mediation’s (NAFCM) email listserv.
  • In June, Sharon Sturges, Director of the Colorado Judicial branch Office of Dispute Resolution, shared about the National Center for State Courts website and publications.
  • In July, D.G. Mawn, NAFCM, shared his love of NAFCM’s On Demand webinars.
  • In September, James Alfini, RSI Board Member and Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, shared that his favorite resource is the Center for Judicial Ethics at the National Center for State Courts.
  • In October, Alyson Carrel, RSI Board Member and Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center on Negotiation and Mediation, shared that her favorite ADR resource is the Dispute Resolution Resources for Legal Educators section of the University of Missouri Law School’s Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution website.
  • In November, Cassie Lively, Executive Director at the Center for Conflict Resolution, shared about NAFCM’s Virtual Library.

Last, but not least, I thought I would share my favorite resource to cap of the year. One of my favorite ADR resources from this year has been The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr. I have been passionate about restorative justice for a few years and I first came across this resource shortly before I completed circle training this year. I value this resource because I think it is a tremendous guide for anyone interested in restorative justice that provides a nice overview of the principles and goals of restorative practice. As a somewhat novice to this subject when I picked up this resource, I felt that Zehr’s book deepened my understanding of the basics and theory behind restorative justice. For those unfamiliar with this resource, I would recommend reviewing Zehr’s definition of restorative justice (pg. 37), as well as his list of what restorative justice is not (pgs. 8-13).

Thank you again to each of the participants in this year’s series! To the readers of My Favorite Resource, I hope this year’s haul of resources leads you to discover your new favorite resource!

If you are interested in sharing a resource in 2020, please contact me at

A Look Back on 2019

Nicole Wilmet, December 18th, 2019

I cannot believe we are already in the last month of this decade! What a wonderful and full year 2019 has been here at RSI. From court program evaluations to trainings and conferences, we have had a very exciting year and continued to make great strides in serving communities with court alternative dispute resolution! As RSI’s Resource Center Director and Court ADR Connection Editor, I have had the pleasure of sharing each exciting moment with you this year. To culminate 2019, I am looking back on all of RSI’s monumental moments this year.

This year, our Resource Center continued to provide a wealth of court ADR information and we expanded our Research Library with a plethora of new resources, including:

We also celebrated growth and several important milestones this year. In February, Alyson Carrel, Clinical Associate Professor and Assistant Director of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center on Negotiation and Mediation, joined our Board of Directors. In March, Jennifer Shack celebrated 20 years at RSI! In May, RSI was honored with the Association of Family and Conciliation Court’s Irwin Cantor Innovative Program Award, which recognizes innovation in court-connected or court-related programs! In August, the Honorable Nancy Katz (ret.), who works with JAMS as a mediator and an arbitrator, joined our Board of Directors. Last, but not least, this month, our program coordinators Olga Ivari and Kevin Malone celebrated six years at RSI! Olga is the Program Coordinator for our Lake County Foreclosure Mediation Program and Kevin is the Program Manager for both our Kane County Foreclosure Mediation Program and Child Protection Mediation Program.

This year, our organization continued to explore ways to serve the court ADR community. Under a planning grant from the Family and Interpersonal Resilience and Safety Transformation (FIRST) Fund, we spent time this year studying the current landscape of intimate partner violence (IPV) screening tools. To support this research, in June, RSI convened a summit of experts in mediation, family law and intimate partner violence (IPV) to help us explore whether an online tool (such as a website or an app) could improve the frequency and quality of mediator screening for IPV prior to mediation. The result of our research and findings are summarized in our report, Considering an Online Pre-Mediation Tool to Screen for Intimate Partner Violence: Findings & Blueprint, which explores the gap between “best practices” and reality when it comes to mediators screening for IPV and discusses how technology may help address these deficits.

Executive Director Susan Yates and Director of Research Jen Shack also did a bit of traveling this year, attending and presenting at conferences and seminars across the U.S. In April, Susan and Jen headed to Minneapolis for the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Conference. While there, Jen presented on what her evaluations of child protection mediation programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C. can tell other courts about how to design programs that are effective, efficient and address the needs of all mediation participants. In October, Susan conducted a series of three seminars on “Building Your Court’s Civil ADR System” at New Mexico’s statewide ADR conference in Santa Fe. In November, Susan and Jen also attended the 2019 International Online Dispute Resolution Form. While there, Jen presented on what factors should be examined when evaluating litigants’ experience of online dispute resolution. If you are interested in learning about how RSI can work with your court program in 2020, send a message to our staff!

Phew! Who knew so much could happen in one year?! As December (and this decade!) nears its close, I know that each of us here at RSI are thankful for a wonderful 2019. We look forward to all that awaits in 2019!

My Favorite Resource Featuring Cassie Lively

Nicole Wilmet, December 2nd, 2019

Our series My Favorite Resource, features interviews with ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resources. This month, I spoke with Cassie Lively, Executive Director at the Center for Conflict Resolution, to learn about her favorite ADR resource.

NW: What is one of your favorite ADR resources?

CL:  My favorite resource is the Virtual Library offered by the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM).

NW: Why do you value this particular resource?

CL:  NAFCM provides a range of resources for community mediation centers, and the virtual library is one that I reference all the time. There are great tools for new community mediation centers that are developing their governance structure and policies. For more established centers like the Center for Conflict Resolution, there are program-specific resources, training tools, and ideas for expansion and best practices. NAFCM is always looking for new additions to the resource center, so if you have simulations, evaluations, best practices, case studies, or anything else to share, please e-mail 

NW: How did you first learn about this resource?

CL:  CCR has been a NAFCM member center for many years. When I was first training as a case manager at CCR, I used NAFCM tools as I was learning more about community mediation, and have always been grateful for their resources over the years as CCR has expanded our mediation programs. This year, I am fortunate to be serving as co-chair of NAFCM’s Board.

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

CL: Toolkits from NAFCM’s grant program, funded by the JAMS Foundation, are a highlight of the Virtual Library. Toolkits cover topics including branding for community mediation centers, legislative advocacy, building mediation programs to work with veterans, program sustainability, and working in partnership with law enforcement. The newest resource, on working with older adult populations, just became available. The great thing about the resources that are built through this program is how timely they are – each year, a group of community mediation centers works on a project that is very relevant for the field and for the clients we serve.

Happy Thanksgiving from RSI!

Nicole Wilmet, November 28th, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Resolution Systems Institute!

Today we are grateful for all of our staff, board members, supporters, and court ADR friends nationwide. Thank you for all you do to support RSI! We hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Two New Chapters of RSI’s Guide to Program Success now Available!

Nicole Wilmet, November 27th, 2019

We are thrilled to announce that two new chapters of our Guide to Program Success are now available! RSI’s Guide to Program Success combines the expertise of Executive Director Susan Yates and Director of Research Jennifer Shack and discusses how to effectively design, manage and evaluate successful court ADR programs.

Newly released Chapter 12: Create Your Program Forms addresses how to create forms for court programs and includes a set of exemplary sample forms from courts around the United States. Chapter 13: Launch Your Program, focuses on the successful launch of a court program takes a look at things that court sometimes don’t think about when starting a program.

We hope you find these resources valuable in your work!