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.
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:
- Four new chapters to our Guide to Program Success!
13: Launch Your Program focuses on the successful
launch of a court program and takes a look at things that courts sometimes
don’t consider when starting a program.
- Two new Special Topics including a Special Topic on Online Dispute Resolution and a Special Topic for Program Administrators, as well as a downloadable version of the Community Mediation
Special Topic we created with the National Association for Community Mediation.
- Ohio Civil
Stalking Mediation Pilot: Final Report, written by our Director of Research Jennifer Shack, is an evaluation examining
a program piloted in ten jurisdictions. The evaluation examines mediation
outcomes, agreement sustainability, agreement provisions, and the impact of
referral to mediation the probability of a full hearing being held.
- Individual circuit
extracts from Jen’s evaluation Saving Homes, Building Understanding: An Evaluation of Eight
Foreclosure Mediation Programs Funded by the Illinois Attorney General. These
circuit extracts summarize the study’s findings or Illinois’ 1st, 6th,
16th, 17th, 19th, 20th, and 21st
- Several new studies added to RSI’s Mediation Efficacy Studies database.
- Our 2018 Annual
Report: Building on our Foundation, which
highlights the tremendous success and organizational growth of RSI in 2018.
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.
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.
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!