Over the holidays, I visited a relative who works at a major retail store. I wanted to purchase a long, warm winter coat to ward off the cold Chicago wind. With a smirk, she led me to what was, only a few weeks before, the coat section. It was filled with swim suits.
While I’m not ready to exchange my mittens for a beach blanket quite yet, I am thinking fondly about the upcoming spring activities in the ADR world. Specifically, I’m excited to hear my Resolution Systems Institute colleagues give two presentations at the April American Bar Association Dispute Resolution section conference in Washington D.C. Oh, and I’m giving one, too.
RSI’s Executive Director Susan Yates will be featured in a panel discussion entitled, “Family Mediation in the Court and Private Contexts: Is it an Interdisciplinary Practice?” The panel will continue the discussion from the fall 2011 joint Marquette University School of Law/Resolution Systems Institute/Association for Family and Conciliation Courts’ conference on the future of court ADR and cross-pollination possibilities between ADR case types. This session will explore the interdisciplinary beginnings and current trends of family mediation in the courts and in private practice, especially the increasing dominance of lawyers in the private mediation arena. Ms. Yates will also moderate a panel about Foreclosure Mediation 2.0 during the Court ADR Symposium. This panel will feature leaders from five court or quasi-court foreclosure mediation programs discussing how evaluations and challenges to their programs have provoked changes in process and practice.
RSI’s Director of Research Jennifer Shack, alongside partner organizations JAMS and the ABA, will present her ongoing work on the model court forms for civil court ADR programs. This innovative project involves court ADR professionals from across the country providing input on the ideal forms for tracking court ADR program data. RSI has been a longtime advocate of programs regularly monitoring and evaluating their operations. Now, programs will have an easy, accessible, adaptable way to track essential data. Then, they can request RSI’s assistance to interpret it and make program improvements accordingly.
Along with colleagues from the University of Illinois Law School, the Self-Represented Litigation Network, and the Georgia court system, I will present on how courts can provide greater access to mediation services for self-represented litigants. This builds on the work of the Statewide Mediation Access Project, which sprung from RSI’s 2007 study entitled Accessing Justice through Mediation: Pathways for Poor and Low-Income Litigants.
Join us in D.C. in April for four exciting sessions featuring RSI’s court ADR experts.