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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

RSI Celebrates 24 Years!

Just Court ADR, April 23rd, 2019

Happy birthday to us! On April 22, 2019, RSI celebrated its 24th year of operation!

Thank you to all our staff and supporters for everything you do to make RSI so great. We appreciate your continued support. We look forward to continuing to serve the court ADR community.

Director of Research Jennifer Shack Celebrates 20 Years with RSI

Nicole Wilmet, March 25th, 2019

This month marks our Director of Research Jennifer Shack’s 20th anniversary with RSI. During her 20 years here at RSI, Jen has played an integral role not just as a member of RSI, but in the court ADR community as a whole. Jen has worked to cultivate and provide reliable court ADR research and has conducted complex evaluations to help court programs across the country.

In honor of Jen, this month we are revisiting her Get to Know You interview in which she reflects on her time at RSI, her favorite projects, and the greatest challenge she faced when she started working in court ADR. Please join us in congratulating Jen on twenty wonderful years at RSI.

My Favorite Resource Featuring Tom Valenti

Nicole Wilmet, March 1st, 2019

Our series, My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resource. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with Tom Valenti, an experienced dispute resolution professional and founder of Valenti Law, to learn about his favorite resource.

NW: What is one of your favorite ADR resources?

TV: The resource that I have found most useful over the years is Kluwer Mediation Blog. Kluwer Mediation Blog is a comprehensive source of international articles. It publishes interesting articles from leading practitioners worldwide. Its database of articles is searchable, which makes it an excellent resource.

NW: Why do you value this particular resource?

TV:  As someone who keeps in touch with ADR issues internationally, I find it to be the best resource for me. I set up my account to send me an email when a new article is posted. The articles are published by leading practitioners. This is the beauty of Kluwer. It curates who can publish there, so you are reading reliable and interesting articles. I have found most of them worth reading, saving and cataloging.

NW: How did you first learn about this resource?

TV: As one who uses online research tools, I found the blog through a search engine, and then subscribed after finding it to be of high quality. As it turns out, I know many of the authors now, who are amongst those I look to in our field. For those who subscribe to my newsletters, there is usually an article from Kluwer in them.

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

TV: The blog has very useful searching and browsing functions, so if you are looking for something specific, you can browse by category, jurisdiction, date, author, etc., or you can use the general search feature.

If you have a favorite resource that you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our blog or newsletter, please reach out to our Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org.

My Favorite Resource Featuring Sally Campbell

Nicole Wilmet, January 30th, 2019

Our series, My Favorite Resource, features interviews with our court ADR friends across the country to learn about their favorite resource. This month, Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet spoke with Sally Campbell, Dispute Resolution Services Manager for the Supreme Court of Virginia, to learn about her favorite resource. 

NW: What is one of your favorite ADR resources? 

SC: Aside from RSI, always a favorite resource, my favorite ADR resource tends to be what is helping me most at the moment. Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Attorneys and Mediators, an ABA publication written by experienced appellate mediators Brendon Ishikawa and Dana Curtis, tops my list right now.   

NW: Why do you value this particular resource? 

SC: Appellate Mediation contains a wealth of information for any mediator, whether newly minted or appellate veteran. I still marvel at this book’s promotion of a facilitative process with a client-centered, problem-solving approach – not what I expected when I first opened it. The book divides into five sections. The first, “Fundamentals of Appeals,” tackles appellate law basics, case evaluation, and decision tree risk analysis for case evaluation. The second, “The Appellate Mediation Process,” covers each phase of the mediation, with headings varying from “Explanation of the roles of the Mediator and Participants” and “People Get Angry; It’s Okay,” to “Brainstorm for as Many Options as Possible – Especially Options with Asymmetric Gains.” The “Practice Tips for Appellate Attorneys” section focuses on preparing attorneys and clients for mediation; strategies for the sessions; and crafting an enforceable agreement. “Practice Tips for Appellate Mediators” delivers excellent, detailed guidance for mediators.   

Finally, the Appendix packs a punch with great resources for appellate mediators, like sample phone call dialogue and sample documents. Appellate Mediation is eminently accessible with a user-friendly design that makes it easy to find specific information. The authors even include a chapter on mediator professional development. That chapter’s attention to the reflective practice process generated an a-ha! moment, and facilitated our goal to design the Mediator Self-Reflection Treasury to guide and support mediators even in solitary, first-time self-reflection.  

NW: How did you first learn about this resource?  

SC: In 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved appellate mediation pilot projects to run for two years in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. I found this book while looking for resources to assist in the training of appellate mediators. It fit the bill so well that the trainer used it in the basic mediation course.  

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

SC: For newer, non-appellate mediators, I would recommend Chapter 14 (“Phase 2, Information Exchange, and Phase 3, Identifying and Organizing the Issues”), although there is so much to be gleaned elsewhere in the book, I wouldn’t stop there. For seasoned mediators, I’d recommend Chapters 2 and 3, that address case evaluation as in “What is my best presently available option?” and case valuation through decision tree analysis. In this well-written, accessible book, these chapter materials aren’t nearly as daunting as they sound.     

This book might top my list for a long time to come. 

If you have a favorite resource you would like to share in an upcoming edition of our newsletter and our blog, please reach out to our Resource Center Director Nicole Wilmet at nwilmet@aboutrsi.org. 

A Look Back on 2018

Nicole Wilmet, December 21st, 2018

What a wonderful year 2018 has been! From court program evaluations and trainings to celebrating Resolution Systems Institute Day, we have had an exciting year and continued to great make 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 to share each exciting moment with you this year. To culminate 2018, I am looking back on all of RSI’s monumental moments this year.

This was a hallmark year for AboutRSI.org with several new resources added to our Resource Center. March brought the launch of Mediation Efficacy Studies, the most comprehensive collection of resources on the subject of court alternative dispute resolution effectiveness. This summer, Director of Research Jennifer Shack published her evaluation of Washington, D.C.’s Child Protection Mediation Program, and we shared our Model Tools for Mediator Peer Review.

This fall, we released two new chapters to our Guide to Program Success, a step-by step guide from Executive Director Susan Yates and Jennifer Shack that discusses how to design, manage and evaluate a successful court ADR program. We also collaborated with the National Association for Community Mediation to share a Community Mediation Special Topic that explains the basics of community mediation, explores the relationship between courts and community mediation centers, delves into the important activities of data tracking and evaluation and compiles exemplary studies on the effectiveness of community mediation.

Finally, we rounded out our year of new resources with Jennifer Shack’s program evaluation of the eight foreclosure mediation programs funded by the Illinois Attorney General and developed a digital summary of the evaluation.

In 2018, we also launched our series My Favorite Resource that collects resources from our court ADR friends across the country. I would like to thank Heather Kulp, Debora Denny, Doug Van Epps, Missy Greathouse, Rebecca Price, Raeshann Canady, Kevin Malone, Catherine Geyer, Annalise Buth, Renee Salmon, and Peter Salem for participating in our inaugural year. I have truly enjoyed learning about each of your favorite ADR resources and network groups and I look forward to connecting with more friends this year!

This year was also a milestone year for our foreclosure mediation programs here in Illinois as our five-year grant from the Illinois Attorney General ended. Under the grant, RSI developed and administered foreclosure mediation programs in Illinois’ Lake, Kane, Winnebago, and Boone counties; trained mediators for all Attorney General-funded foreclosure mediation programs throughout the state; developed an online case management and monitoring system for those programs; and conducted two statewide evaluations of the programs. We are happy to report that all three of RSI’s foreclosure mediation programs will continue to operate thanks to the support of their local courts. RSI’s Kevin Malone and Olga Kordonskaya will continue to administer our programs in Kane County and Lake County, respectively, and moving forward, the court will administer the foreclosure mediation program in Winnebago & Boone counties. We consider the continuation of the programs as evidence of their success given that the courts value these programs enough to continue to provide funding for them. We are grateful to the Attorney General for supporting these programs, to the courts for their partnership and to the skilled mediators for conducting the mediations.

Last, but certainly not least, we also celebrated several important events this year. In April, we welcomed Grace Barter as our new Administrative Assistant. On July 11, 2018, Rockford, Illinois Mayor Thomas McNamara declared that day as Resolution Systems Institute Day in honor of RSI’s work on foreclosure mediation in the Rockford community. That same month, we celebrated Kent Lawrence, founder and steadfast supporter of RSI, for receiving the Decalogue Society of Lawyer’s Hon. Gerald C. Bender Humanitarian Award. The Hon. Gerald C. Bender Humanitarian Award is presented to individuals whose excellence and dedication demonstrate commitment to justice by serving the community.

In September, we celebrated our one-year anniversary of the new AboutRSI.org, and Eric Slepak-Cherney was named RSI’s new Associate Director. In November, Jennifer Shack was appointed to the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Research Advisory Committee and this month, Olga Kordonskaya and Kevin Malone celebrated their five-year anniversary with RSI.

As December comes to a close, I know that each of us here at RSI is thankful for a wonderful 2018. We look forward to all that awaits in 2019!