As a result of our country's financial crisis, drastic cuts have been made across all sectors, including judicial systems. While courts struggle to continue providing fair, cost-effective justice, an increasing number of people are going to court without lawyers.
Finding ways to meet these challenges demands expertise and innovation. Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) works with courts to develop and improve alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs as an adjunct to traditional litigation. These programs free courts to focus on cases that require judicial attention, while often enabling parties to reach resolutions faster, at a lower cost and in a more satisfying manner.
RSI has helped courts across Illinois develop mediation programs and the means to monitor them since the mid-1990s. In recent years, our program development work has expanded to other states, as well. The work that we do varies by program, but it can include:
- reaching out to potential mediation advocates in an area
- facilitating stakeholder meetings
- providing sample forms
- drafting or refining draft rules
- developing training materials and programs
- conducting specialized training of neutrals
- providing monitoring and evaluation services
Under a foreclosure mediation grant from the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, we are currently administering foreclosure mediation programs that we developed in the 16th (Kane County), 17th (Winnebago and Boone counties) and 19th (Lake County) judicial circuits.
With funding from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, we are in the process of working with Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County) to develop a pilot Child Protection Mediation Program.
Visit our Program Monitoring & Evaluation page for information about our other services to assist court ADR programs.
Since 1995, RSI has been involved in creating or improving multiple court-connected ADR programs, primarily in Illinois. These include:
- Major civil litigation mediation programs in a Federal District Court Division and in ten of Illinois' 23 Judicial Circuits, of which all but one are still functioning
- Small claims mediation programs in courts based in Coles County, Bloomington, and Rockford, Illinois
- Family mediation in Illinois' 1st and 2nd Judicial Circuits
- Mortgage foreclosure mediation in Utah, Hawaii and Cook County (Chicago), Illinois, as well as grant-funded programs throughout Illinois
"I knew that other circuits had developed small claims mediation programs, but it was not until we were offered the opportunity to collaborate with RSI and receive professional mediation training that we were able to create this unique program. Judge [Rebecca] Foley and I have appreciated the opportunity to work with the staff of RSI and community members who have a passion to mediate disputes."
Chief Judge Elizabeth Robb, 11th Judicial Circuit of Illinois (Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean and Woodford counties). RSI worked with Judge Robb to develop a small claims mediation program in 2009.
Users of our program development services have consistently reported that RSI staff members provided high-quality and thorough information, with "excellent" levels of expertise and responsiveness.
Susan M. Yates, Executive Director
(312) 922-6475 x45