Susan M. Yates

Executive Director
Email: yates[at]aboutrsi[dot]org

Susan Yates has been Executive Director of Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) since 1997 and a mediator since 1983. As RSI Executive Director, she is responsible for implementing RSI's organizational mission of strengthening access to justice by enhancing court alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems. To accomplish this mission, RSI designs court ADR systems, trains mediators, administers court ADR systems, and conducts ongoing monitoring and in-depth evaluation of these systems. RSI's work is undergirded by, the organization's national court ADR resource center.

Ms. Yates developed RSI from an idea to an organization with a nine-person expert staff and a respected Board of Directors. She is responsible for articulating RSI’s vision and for supporting that vision by charting a strategic path, developing a diverse funding base, and managing a professional staff.

She continues to work in dispute system design, helping courts navigate questions such as how to structure referral systems, how to address policy issues (e.g., confidentiality and neutrality), how to ensure quality services, and how to measure program results. She also designs and conducts mediator trainings for new programs. She has helped state and federal courts, predominantly in Illinois, with their development of sound ADR programs for cases ranging from small claims to large civil litigation; from divorce to foreclosure.

Two of the more noteworthy publications by Ms. Yates include Accessing Justice through Mediation: Pathways for Poor and Low-Income Disputants, a 2007 study conducted for the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, and the ADR Handbook for Judges, which was published in 2004 by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and which Ms. Yates co-edited with Donna Stienstra of the Federal Judicial Center. She has authored or co-authored numerous other studies and articles and has served on the Editorial Board for Conflict Resolution Quarterly since 2003. She is a regular speaker at ADR and bar association events and has spoken internationally. Ms. Yates also contributes regularly to RSI's blog, Just Court ADR.

Ms. Yates is active on a national level in the dispute resolution profession. She has served in many positions in the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association, including serving as one of the ABA's two delegates to the six-person Joint Committee to Revise the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators. This was bracketed by multi-year terms of service at the Council table of the Section. She also served on the Section's Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality.

Ms. Yates has been a mediator since 1983, and currently focuses on civil litigation and foreclosure disputes. In more than three decades as a mediator, she has handled employment, real estate, commercial, juvenile, housing, minor criminal and neighborhood disputes.

Ms. Yates has trained hundreds of lawyers, judges and others to mediate. She has written training manuals for major civil case mediation and for community mediation, designed competency-based training and evaluation instruments, and created specialty trainings for ADR in areas such as foreclosure. She has been an adjunct faculty member in the schools of law at DePaul University, Loyola University and Northwestern University. Ms. Yates is also a former Executive Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution. In 2016 she was named an ADR Champion by the National Law Journal and in 2012 she was named an Ambassador by the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts.