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Just Court ADR

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Archive for the ‘Program Design’ Category

Designing Access Part One: How RSI Used Outcome Measures to Reach Homeowners in Lake County

Hanna Kaufman, December 21st, 2015

Welcome to my first of three blog posts showcasing how RSI uses our expertise in dispute system design to improve access to justice in the three foreclosure mediation programs we administer. I originally conceived of this series after reading Richard Zorza’s post inviting the legal community, including those working in ADR, to define what 100% access to justice might look like. My introduction to the series provoked a response from Richard, offering several topics for consideration, which then inspired a follow-up to those ideas from RSI’s Director of Research, Jen Shack, who expanded upon his analysis.

One issue both Richard and Jen agreed on was the importance of using good outcome measures to drive program improvements. Richard focused on the need for “accurate, credible, and comprehensive measures” that can be compared across systems, and Jen echoed that “we need to know what works and what doesn’t so that improvements can be made.” Reliable data is RSI’s bread and butter, and it is where we begin this portrait of the 19th Judicial Circuit Residential Foreclosure Mediation Program in Lake County, Illinois. (more…)

Access to Justice and ADR: What Is Needed for Parties to Experience Justice

Jennifer Shack, November 25th, 2015

It seems that a conversation is starting up between Richard Zorza on his blog and RSI’s Director of Foreclosure Mediation Hanna Kaufman about 100% access to justice and ADR. Hanna will be returning with a series of three posts that will focus on how we are addressing access to justice in our own foreclosure mediation programs, so I decided to chime in with a big-picture response.

The conversation has its origins in Resolution 5 of the Conference of Chief Justices, which sets a goal of 100% access to justice for essential civil legal needs and encourages each state to develop a strategic plan to get there. In his latest post, Zorza suggests that as part of this effort, ADR system design focus on triage, consent, the role of the neutral, the use of nonlawyers and outcome measures. I agree with most of these, and see in them the need to fully integrate ADR into the Chiefs’ efforts to achieve 100% access. (more…)

Designing Access: Introduction to a Three-Part Series

Hanna Kaufman, November 19th, 2015

During a recent day of strategic planning at RSI, one of the ideas our staff explored was how alternative dispute resolution (ADR) helps to increase access to justice (ATJ or A2J). This idea is close to my heart; improving the accessibility of our justice system has been a passion of mine for years and has driven my decisions to attend law school, train as a mediator, and ultimately, join RSI’s team. (more…)

Turning Arbitration into a Political Football

Susan M. Yates, November 6th, 2015

Did you read the three articles on arbitration The New York Times published on October 31, November 1 and November 2? They tell a series of horror stories about arbitrations in employment, consumer and religious settings. I was sorely disappointed by them because they continued the trend to politicize arbitration.

This trend toward treating arbitration as political football didn’t just start last week in the Times. For some time now, one side has painted arbitration as bad for consumers because it limits class actions. They contend that class actions tackle the small issues that no individual would litigate. They say they help keep big corporations honest. Another side has said arbitration is good for consumers because it is less expensive and more accessible than litigation. They contend that class actions are bad for consumers because when class action litigation settles, the consumers may receive small gift certificates while the lawyers get big legal fees. See, for example, this article by the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform in response to the Times articles.

Here’s the thing: arbitration is not the problem. (more…)

What is Court ADR? Clearing Up Some Misconceptions

Jennifer Shack, October 2nd, 2015

How can you make good decisions if the information you have is limited or wrong? That’s the question that drove me to the fields of research and program evaluation – good policy and effective programs are passions of mine, and there’s no way to have either without accurate, reliable information. It’s also the question that ran through my head as I read the article, “To Mediate in Court or out of Court, that is the Question” in Financier Worldwide. In the article, the author distinguishes between court and private mediation in a way that is not consistent with the wide variety of court and private mediation that exists in the United States. The article provides a good example of the misconceptions I often see in articles about mediation, misconceptions that can lead to poor decisions about the use of mediation.  (more…)