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Q&A Highlights Importance of RSI/UC Davis Research on Procedural Justice in ODR

Susan M. Yates, June 28th, 2021

The Pew Charitable Trusts has published a Q&A with Professor Donna Shestowsky of the UC Davis School of Law about the empirical study of online dispute resolution (ODR) that the law school and Resolution Systems Institute are conducting, which looks at court ODR programs in Michigan and Texas. The Q&A explores procedural justice, an integral element of the study.

RSI’s Director of Research, Jennifer Shack, and Professor Shestowsky are working with the Pew Charitable Trusts to evaluate online platforms that courts are using to assist parties in engaging in mediation and negotiation. RSI and UC Davis are one of three research teams involved in a larger project initiated by Pew to empirically study issues surrounding the provision of ODR by courts and its effects.

While these platforms could offer benefits, such as eliminating the need for some parties to appear in person for a trial, the study looks at possible drawbacks as well. In addition to procedural justice, the study also looks at other questions, such as whether ODR reduces the time and stress on parties and courts; affects case outcomes; and improves litigants’ use of court procedures and navigation of court rules.

For more on how courts are using ODR, visit RSI’s Special Topic on Online Dispute Resolution.

Resolution Systems Institute Prepares for Wave of Evictions

Susan M. Yates, May 4th, 2021

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a new kind of wave is being predicted – a wave of evictions. So far, a patchwork of federal, state and local eviction moratoria has kept the eviction tsunami from breaking on the shore. But as these moratoria are lifted (as they already have been in some places), millions will be at increased risk of COVID-19 from homelessness or from having to double up housing with friends and family.

RSI is on the front lines of utilizing ADR to address the coming evictions crisis and we are tackling it from several directions. First, we will be launching an Eviction Mediation Program next month in Kane County, Illinois, which encompasses Illinois’ second- and eighth-largest cities, Aurora and Elgin, respectively. Our program will look to connect participants with rental relief and legal assistance before trying to help them come to an agreement using trained third-party mediators. 

Second, we are reaching out to courts in more than 35 counties in central and northern Illinois to offer assistance designing and developing eviction mediation programs. While the moratoria are still in place, this is the time to design mediation programs that meet local needs, leverage local strengths, and bring together all necessary resources. 

Third, to further advance our mission of strengthening access to justice through court ADR, we will in the coming months roll out a series of resources on utilizing ADR to address the national spike in evictions. These resources will include sample forms and documents courts can utilize in their own programs, guidance on setting up these programs, and information on how others have utilized ADR to manage eviction cases.

Now is the window of opportunity to prepare well thought-out mediation programs that provide procedural justice and a chance for landlords and tenants to reach a solution that is workable — and safe — for all parties. Our work in this arena is being generously supported by the American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution Foundation and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation. If you would like to support us in guiding courts on the use of ADR in combating evictions, please consider making a donation to RSI.

RSI Receives Eviction Mediation Grant

Susan M. Yates, March 29th, 2021

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation recently awarded RSI a grant of more than $30,000 to help support RSI’s eviction mediation program in Kane County, Illinois, and our outreach to 14 Illinois judicial circuits, encompassing 39 counties, in central and northern Illinois. For both aspects of this grant, RSI will draw on our decades of experience designing and evaluating court mediation programs.

RSI has been working closely with the court and stakeholders in Kane County since last year in preparation for an expected influx of eviction cases when moratoriums expire. During the grant period, which runs from March 15, 2021 through June 30, 2021, we will reach out to other courts about their interest in eviction mediation, and offer technical assistance to help design programs as needed. 

If you live or work in a northern or central Illinois county and are interested in eviction mediation in your community, please reach out to RSI at info@aboutRSI.org

Support RSI this Holiday Season

Susan M. Yates, December 22nd, 2020

Dear friend of RSI,

What can I say about 2020 that hasn’t been said? From a global pandemic to economic instability, from political division to the fight for social justice, this year has seen more than its fair share of turbulence.

Amidst these storms of conflict, RSI continues to work to increase access to justice through enhanced court ADR by:

  • conducting mediations for foreclosure and child protection cases via video connections
  • evaluating court online dispute resolution (ODR) programs remotely
  • convening national experts on family ODR to explore how ODR can best serve thinly-resourced parents, courts and communities
  • designing a remote foreclosure mediation program in preparation for an expected flood of eviction cases 

Courts look to RSI for innovation and guidance. And RSI responds, providing mediation services, designing cutting-edge systems to serve families during crises, conducting incisive evaluations and offering reliable court ADR resources. RSI focuses on the issues that most effect individuals and families, such as, foreclosure, eviction, child protection and divorce. 

As we all weather the storms that are buffeting us, RSI needs your support more than ever. Please make a contribution to help RSI serve the parties, courts and communities that look to us for innovation and guidance to deal with the massive disruption caused by COVID-19. You can go online to contribute or mail your contribution to RSI, 11 East Adams St., Suite 500, Chicago, Illinois 60603. 

On behalf of everyone RSI will help, I thank you.

Sincerely,

Susan M. Yates

Executive Director

The Twelve Hours of Conflict ⏰

Susan M. Yates, December 16th, 2020

In what has become a holiday tradition at RSI, here is my ADR-themed parody of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Happy holidays!

For the first hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me a round table with a great view

For the second hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the third hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the fourth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the fifth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me five as-pir-in
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the sixth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me six tested realities
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the seventh hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the eighth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me eight explored BATNAs
Seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the ninth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me nine fresh perspectives
Eight explored BATNAs
Seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the tenth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me ten brainstorms
Nine fresh perspectives
Eight explored BATNAs
Seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the eleventh hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me eleven cookie breaks
Ten brainstorms
Nine fresh perspectives
Eight explored BATNAs
Seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

For the twelfth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me twelve resolved issues
Eleven cookie breaks
Ten brainstorms
Nine fresh perspectives
Eight explored BATNAs
Seven caucuses
Six tested reality
Five aspirin
Four mirrored feelings
Three paraphrases
Two succinct summaries
And a round table with a great view

Have a great New Year!