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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

Big News in Court ADR — A Look Back at 2014

Mary Novak, December 18th, 2014

Our monthly e-newsletter Court ADR Connection has updates on RSI’s activities, cutting-edge ADR research, and the latest court ADR news from across the country. As we wind down 2014, I thought it might be fun to take a look at a few of the most significant news stories we reported on this year.

Detroit Bankruptcy Mediated in “Grand Bargain”

The most-watched court ADR news story of 2014 may have been the mediated settlement that resolved the City of Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy. Without doubt, this riveting drama of competing interests coming together to form a “Grand Bargain” will be studied and discussed for years to come. We reported on facets of this story a few times, both here in our blog and in our newsletter: (more…)

Grievance Procedures and Mediation Policy Goals

Jennifer Shack, August 6th, 2014

Here’s something I wrote for RSI’s e-newsletter this month that I thought would interest our blog readers as well:

Parties to court mediation in Florida have the opportunity to submit their complaints regarding a mediator to a robust grievance process. The structure includes four stages: committee review to determine whether a complaint is facially sufficient; a preliminary review of rules that may have been violated and the mediator’s response to the complaint, which are used to determine probable cause; a meeting between mediator and complainant; and a formal hearing.  In “Mediator Ethical Breaches: Implications for Public Policy” (Penn State Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation, Vol. 6, p. 107 (2014)), Sharon Press examines this grievance process and finds that the burden of proof required at the formal hearing stage has the potential to undermine the policy goals of mediation programs. (more…)

Settlement Conferences and the Price of Contempt

Mary Novak, May 27th, 2014

In a settlement conference, what is the value of having someone present with full authority to settle? If one party lacks the authority, it can result in aggravation, wasted court fees, and lost time for trial preparation. American Family Insurance (AFI) recently learned this to their cost in a dog-bite case in Washoe County, Nevada. Because Judge Janet Berry did not believe the insurers had complied in good faith with her rules on authority to settle, she found the company in contempt and sanctioned them $50,000. (more…)

Illinois Expands Law Student and Graduate Representation in ADR

Terra K. Peach, June 19th, 2013

Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced changes to Rule 711 that explicitly permit qualified law students and graduates who have not yet been admitted to practice to provide ADR representation starting July 1, 2013. Consistent with previous requirements, law students and graduates will offer legal services with client consent, under attorney supervision. However, the revised rule allows law students and graduates to appear on behalf of clients in court-annexed arbitrations and mediations in Illinois courts and administrative tribunals, and to represent clients in nonlitigation matters. It also reduces the coursework required before applying for permission to provide services. (more…)

Illinois Rule Changes Increase Opportunities for Legal Representation in ADR

Terra K. Peach, June 17th, 2013

Illinois rule changes that may increase the availability of counsel for alternative dispute resolution processes take effect in two weeks. After July 1, 2013, it will be easier for lawyers to work with clients on one clearly defined portion of a civil legal matter without taking on other issues or proceedings within the case. Updated forms and procedures streamline representation for clients who wish to retain a lawyer for settlement negotiations only, understanding that the lawyer will not be responsible for taking the case to trial. (more…)