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Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Designing Access Part Three: Transitions, Continuity and Communication

Hanna Kaufman, August 19th, 2016

Welcome to the final blog post in a series showcasing how RSI uses our expertise in dispute system design to improve access to justice in the three foreclosure mediation programs we administer. If you’re wondering how this series came to be, check out my introduction to the series, as well as the posts highlighting our work in the 19th and 17th Judicial Circuits of Illinois.

This last post will look a little bit different than I anticipated, in large part because it will also be my final post as RSI’s Director of ADR Programs before I take on a new position as Counsel for Innovation and Technology at the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois. In my upcoming role, I will continue to work to promote access to justice, this time focusing on using technology and process improvement in the legal aid context. As you might imagine, transitions and continuity have been on my mind quite a lot, especially because of how close RSI’s programs are to my heart and how passionately I feel about their ongoing success.

At RSI, we think carefully about transitions and work hard to promote continuity during times of change. Current Resource Center Director Eric Slepak will begin his tenure as Director of ADR Programs after I leave today, and the two of us have been working closely together over the past two months to minimize the impact of this transition on our programs. RSI is lucky to have Eric, and I know the programs at RSI will be in great hands.

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In Mediation, As On Broadway, It’s All About The Room Where It Happens

Eric Slepak, February 26th, 2016

If you caught the Grammys last week, I hope you got a glimpse of the live-from-Broadway performance of the opening number from the smash hit Hamilton. One of the show’s many highlights, “In the Room Where It Happens,” is a show-stopping ode to backroom negotiation and the art of compromise that focuses on New York Senator Aaron Burr’s desire to get to the table. Though Burr serves as the foil to protagonist Alexander Hamilton and (spoiler alert) the source of Hamilton’s ultimate defeat, he is not an unsympathetic character; there are many moments throughout where the audience empathizes with Burr’s dreams. Case in point, Burr’s goal of being part of the action mirrors a recurring theme we see parties deal with in ADR: who gets a say in the matter when there are lots of parties involved and/or many different interests at stake?  In other words, who gets to be in the room where it happens? (more…)

“The Big Short”: Meshing the Gears between Micro and Macro Forces that Drove the Housing Crisis

Susan M. Yates, January 15th, 2016

Call it a busman’s holiday, but I went to see “The Big Short” over the holidays. It’s a Hollywood movie about the housing market collapse. It is clever, entertaining, and perhaps most daring for a movie seeking to make money, it is informative.

The thing that struck me most about the movie was the connection of the macro level of economic activity with the micro level. (more…)

‘Tis the Season for Mediation

Susan M. Yates, December 9th, 2014

In what has become an annual tradition, here is RSI’s seasonal parody of the Twelve Day of Christmas. Enjoy!

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

For the third hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me three paraphrases

For the fourth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me four mirrored feelings

For the fifth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me five aspirin

For the sixth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me six tested realities

For the seventh hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me seven caucuses

For the eighth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me eight explored BATNAs

For the ninth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me nine fresh perspectives

For the tenth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me ten brainstorms

For the eleventh hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me eleven cookie breaks

For the twelfth hour of conflict, my neutral gave to me twelve resolved issues

Everyone at Resolution Systems Institute wishes all our friends happy holidays and a happy, healthy 2015!

Be Mindful of the Sunk-Cost Bias Trap

Shawn Davis, June 18th, 2014

Just the other day, I learned the term “sunk-cost bias” and immediately thought of the mortgage foreclosure work that I do. The term was new to me, but the concept was not: sunk-cost bias describes why it’s so hard for us to walk away from something and cut our losses (and explains why I spent 3 hours waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland). With sunk-cost bias, our minds go through a process of telling us that we should hold on because otherwise the time, money and energy already invested would be a waste, even when such a decision is irrational and just sinks us further in the hole. The concept can have very real implications for more serious life choices, like whether or not to remain in a home once in foreclosure. (more…)