Publications

Research

Increasing Referrals to Small Claims Mediation Programs: Models to Improve Access to Justice

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2013
This article studies how courts refer self-represented parties to small claims mediation. After reviewing small claims mediation programs in communities with different population sizes across the United States, six referral models were identified. Variables included whether ADR was required or suggested, when it was suggested and whether the parties mediated outside the court. The study's findings suggest that different referral models satisfy different court goals. With an earlier referral, settlement rates will be higher. Litigants are more likely to choose mediation if an authority figure briefly educates them about the process, and when mediators are specially prepared to work with pro se litigants, both judges and parties will have more confidence in mediation.
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Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Programs: Do They Work?

Heather Scheiwe Kulp and Jennifer Shack. Probate and Property, 2013
With foreclosure dispute resolution programs proliferating around the country, the natural question to ask is, "Do they work?" That's what former RSI staff member Heather Scheiwe Kulp and RSI Director of Research Jennifer Shack set out to determine. The answer, as discussed in this article, is that some do and some don't. Some are achieving what they set out to achieve, at least to some extent. Others aren't. What the programs want to achieve varies, though with much overlap. Goals include keeping homeowners in their homes, helping homeowners and lenders come to mutually agreeable resolution, improving judicial efficiency, and so on.

The authors looked at what factors might influence the effectiveness of a particular program, and they found four characteristics of programs that achieve their goals. These were having clear goals and objectives from the start, good document exchange management, active case management by the neutrals and the inclusion of supplemental services like housing counseling.
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A (Mortgage) Crisis in Communication: Foreclosure Dispute Resolution as Effective Response?

Kulp, Heather Scheiwe and Shack, Jennifer. Arkansas Law Review, 2013
In this article, the authors analyze foreclosure dispute resolution program variables to determine whether any factors indicate a program's efficacy. First, the authors provide a brief overview of foreclosure dispute resolution system design and current program goals. Then, the authors enumerate the limited program statistics currently available. The article then discusses what the statistics mean, including the evidence that strong case management is required for high resolution rate. As there is little correlation between other program variables and program success, in large part because of insufficient data and difference in tracking it, the article calls for better, more standardized data collection and reporting. Finally, the authors make recommendations for improving foreclosure dispute resolution programs and outline best practices.

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Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program Models State-by-State

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. 2012
This report provides a detailed review of judicial and non-judicial foreclosure mediation programs that have been developed across the country. It includes information about the mediation process, the history and the funding for each program. The report was last updated in September 2012.
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Foreclosure Dispute Resolution by the Numbers

Jennifer Shack. 2012
This report reviews statistics for foreclosure dispute resolution programs in the US that have made their data public. The data reveals great variability in the percentage of of eligible foreclosures going through the programs, regardless of whether they are opt-in or opt-out programs, and in the percentage of borrowers who retain their homes through the process. The report also shows that some programs are effective at helping borrowers stay in their homes.
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Foreclosure Mediation Programs Funding

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. 2011
This report describes the structure and funding of foreclosure mediation programs in 24 states. It also reviews how compensation is provided, if at all, for program staff, mediators and attorneys for borrowers.
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Foreclosure Mediation Programs Funding: Executive Summary

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. 2011
This is an executive summary of a report on funding for foreclosure mediation programs in 24 states. The summary briefly describes program structures and lists programs according to whether they pay mediators or require payments from borrowers or lenders. It also lists the main source of funding for each program.
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Foreclosure Mediation in Depth: Number of Mediations Conducted Per Month

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. 2011
This report provides information on the number of foreclosure mediations being conducted in court-related programs in 12 states. It is based on publicly available statistics. The report includes information on the statewide programs in Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Maryland, as well as individual jurisdictions in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Hawaii.
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Foreclosure Mediation in Depth: Articulated Purposes and Objectives for Foreclosure Mediation Programs

Heather Scheiwe Kulp. 2011
This report lists the stated purposes behind the creation of foreclosure mediation programs in 26 states. Program goals include ensuring communication, improving efficiency and timeliness, assisting borrowers, and stabilizing communities.
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Bibliographic Summary of Cost, Pace, and Satisfaction Studies of Court-Related Mediation Programs, 2nd edition

Jennifer Shack. 2007
This is an annotated bibliography of evaluations of court-related mediation programs. It provides information on the methods and findings of more than 70 studies of civil, family, small claims, workers' compensation, appellate, victim-offender, and bankruptcy mediation programs. Most focus on time, cost, and satisfaction of the participants.
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Accessing Justice through Mediation: Pathways for Poor and Low-Income Disputants

Susan M. Yates. 2007
This study examines barriers to and supports for the use of mediation to enhance access to justice for poor and low-income disputants in Illinois. It ends with a blueprint for creating such a system.
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