Harris H. Agnew Service to Community Award
RSI presents an award to individuals whose cumulative efforts substantially and meaningfully enhanced court ADR systems in Illinois. The award was renamed in 2011 to honor the contributions of Judge Harris H. Agnew, Chair of the RSI Executive Committee from 1999 to 2011, former Chief Judge of Illinois 17th Judicial Circuit, and unofficial "Johnny Appleseed" of court ADR throughout the state.
2013 - Professor Katheryn M. Dutenhaver
Professor Dutenhaver is a pioneer in the ADR field. She began teaching mediation to law students in 1986 and by the next year, her students were mediating small claims cases – some of the first students in the nation to do so. The success of this program led Professor Dutenhaver to co-found the Center for Dispute Resolution at DePaul University. Other Chicago law schools have followed in her footsteps by offering such opportunities to students. Later, in response to the Circuit Court of Cook County’s need for mediation of large civil litigation involving self-represented litigants, Professor Dutenhaver worked with the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Attorney-Mediators to develop a program where law students represent litigants and AAM Illinois neutrals mediate. Not only a lawyer, educator and mediator, but also a woman of faith, Professor Dutenhaver also co-founded the Interfaith Family Mediation Project. This program aims to help divorcing parents in Cook County come to an agreement on the religious upbringing of their children. Through effective collaboration, Professor Dutenhaver promotes the use of mediation, helps meet unmet legal needs, serves the court system, and educates law students and young lawyers. RSI is honored to present this award to such an influential individual.
2011 - Honorable Harris H. Agnew
Judge Agnew exemplifies this award, which now bears his name. No individual has had as much impact on the advancement of court alternative dispute resolution in Illinois as Judge Harris H. Agnew. As Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit, he developed the first arbitration and major civil case mediation programs in Illinois and strove to have programs established in other circuits. As Chair of the Illinois Judicial Conference’s Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Illinois Judges Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees, Judge Agnew worked with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court to develop policies and rules to ensure the quality of ADR in the courts. Judge Agnew was one of the founding members of RSI and has been Chair of RSI’s Executive Committee for more than a decade. His commitment to ADR has never wavered. Since the 1980s, he has continuously worked to expand the use of arbitration and mediation in courts in Illinois, devoting himself to the development of programs throughout the state. RSI dedicated its Service to Community Award in honor of Judge Agnew in 2011, recognizing his tireless work over the course of decades to advance the adminstration of justice thorugh court ADR. Judge Agnew passed away later that year.
2010 - Honorable Patricia Martin
By establishing the first child protection mediation program in Illinois, Cook County Child Protection Division Presiding Judge Patricia Martin has dramatically improved the experience of families brought into the child protection system. Her leadership has ensured the program’s success, both by commissioning an evaluation of the program and by being committed to improving its services. By monitoring and evaluating the program, she also is helping families throughout the United States by providing a model for quality mediation services. Judge Martin is unafraid of innovation, making changes to the Child Protection Division she sees are needed for children to have better lives. With her support, the mediation program now serves hundreds of families a year, reducing the conflict that is a barrier to achieving permanent homes for children by giving families a voice, a sense of control and a feeling of respect within the system. Through her efforts, Judge Patricia Martin has advanced the administration of justice for the families of Cook County and around the country.
2006 - Honorable Jerome Lerner
The Honorable Jerome Lerner, retired Cook County Circuit Judge, was a strong leader in the development of alternative dispute resolution in the Illinois court system. He chaired vital Illinois Supreme Court committees that studied and recommended rules for court-annexed arbitration, and was the first chair of the Standing Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Due to the leadership of Judge Lerner, Illinois now has Court-Annexed Mandatory Arbitration programs in nine circuits, complemented by Court-Annexed Major Civil Litigation Mediation programs in eleven circuits. Following his retirement from the bench, Judge Lerner continued to help advance the use of ADR in the state. He served as Mediation Consultant to the Medical Malpractice Mediation Program at Rush Presbyterian – St. Luke’s Hospital, and served on CAADRS’ Executive Committee from its founding in 1995 until 2004. He was also a mediator and arbitrator. Judge Lerner was at the forefront of the movement to bring ADR into the state court system. His interest, enthusiasm, knowledge, and ability helped alternative dispute resolution come of age in Illinois.
2004 - Honorable Philip G. Reinhard & Honorable P. Michael Mahoney
District Court Judge Philip G. Reinhard and Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney have exhibited outstanding judicial leadership and vision, working together to establish a pilot civil mediation program for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. The program, the first of its kind in the federal courts in Illinois, creates a new settlement option for litigants and lawyers, expanding and improving their access to justice. The judges involved the legal community thoroughly in the planning, formulation, and implementation of the program. Great attention to detail was given in the creation of its comprehensive rules, the selection and training of mediators, and establishment of a well-organized mediation system. The program makes extensive use of the court’s web site and incorporates monitoring and evaluation components. It will serve as a model for other courts to emulate. In these efforts, Judge Reinhard and Judge Mahoney have worked above and beyond the immediate requirements of their offices to greatly benefit the public and further the provision of prompt, cost-effective justice by the federal court.
2002 - H. Case Ellis
H. Case Ellis is a respected ambassador for the use of mediation as an additional option to resolve disputes. He served on the 19th Judicial Circuit drafting committee to establish a major court-annexed civil case mediation program. He is one of the original mediators in the court program. His outstanding success as a mediator has enhanced the credibility and use of mediation in the 19th Judicial Circuit and northern Illinois. His leadership and commitment to alternative dispute resolution led to the development and implementation of a pilot program with the McHenry County Bar Association for the mediation of pro se small claims disputes. H. Case Ellis has substantially furthered and enhanced mediation in the Illinois Court System for the benefit of all.
2001- Honorable Michael A. Bilandic
Throughout Justice Michael Bilandic’s ten years of service on the Illinois Supreme Court, he supported the development of alternative dispute resolution. His challenge to the Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee was “show me”. The result has been the expansion of court-annexed arbitration of civil cases, the development of court major civil case mediation, and the creation of facilities for these programs. Justice Bilandic’s leadership during his term as Chief Justice from 1994 through 1996, and as liaison to the ADR Committee, provided the inspiration for expansion of dispute resolution alternatives to help the Court meet the needs of Illinois’ citizens for the twenty-first century.
1999- Honorable Carl F.J. Henninger
As founding Chair of the CAADRS Executive Committee, Judge Carl F.J. Henninger brought the full measure of his experience, knowledge and intellect to the field of alternative dispute resolution. He opened doors for ADR, reaching the hearts and minds of lawyers and judges across Illinois. Judge Henninger’s service and extensive contributions to court-annexed ADR began long before the founding of CAADRS and went far beyond his service as Chair. He was one of a handful of lawyers and jurists who, since the mid- 1980s, have been instrumental in the structuring and implementation of ADR programs in Illinois. As Chief Judge for the 18th Circuit, he introduced the Conciliation Program in Domestic Relations and the Mandatory Court-Annexed Arbitration Program. After leaving the bench, Judge Henninger served as a mediator in four Judicial Circuits and the federal court. He helped formulate and led the training of all mediators in four out of the six Circuit Court Major Civil Case Mediation Programs in Illinois. He educated the bar and bench about these programs through instruction at Judicial Institutes and speeches at programs for lawyers and judges across the state. Through all these efforts, and more, Judge Henninger served the community and advanced the administration of justice in Illinois.
1997 - Honorable Howard C. Ryan
Throughout Justice Ryan’s 36 years as a judge in Illinois, including 20 years as a Supreme Court Justice, he consistently worked to improve the administration of justice. His successful effort to establish court-annexed alternative dispute resolution was a prime example of this concern. Today’s system of court-annexed mandatory arbitration in the circuit courts is a product of Justice Ryan’s vision and leadership during his three years as Chief Justice. As a member of the court he was actively involved in its implementation. Even after his retirement, Justice Ryan lent his considerable prestige and reputation in the field to CAADRS’ efforts to increase the visibility of ADR programs and bring their benefits to more Illinois courtrooms.
1996 – Eugene E. Brassfield
One of the original “Pilot 13 Mediators” who gave their time and effort in 1993 in the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Major Civil Case Mediation Pilot Program. His extraordinary success as a mediator assisted greatly in the establishment of the program’s credibility within the judiciary and bar – a necessity for the Major Civil Case Mediation Program’s success in Illinois. He gave generously of his time and thought in educating members of the legal community throughout Illinois, including uncompensated participation in formal mediator training in judicial circuits elsewhere in the state.
RSI Appreciation Award
With this award, RSI recognizes those who have provided an exceptional service to the organization, significantly improving our ability to accomplish our mission of strengthening access to justice by enhancing court ADR.
In 2014, RSI presented the inaugural Appreciation Award to René Ghadimi and his team at Skadden Arps. René, along with Lance Phillips, Sarah Ralph, and Christine Szafranski, provided exceptional pro bono legal service to RSI during our separation from the Center for Conflict Resolution and subsequent legal incorporation as a 501(c)(3) organization. Through a pairing from The Law Project, this legal team transformed RSI into an independent non-profit organization, positioning RSI for the success we experience today. Their hard work kept the separation friendly and enabled RSI to remain focused on our mission, instead of on navigating legal complexities. Along the way, they demonstrated an unwavering commitment to RSI and our mission. To commemorate the Award, RSI presented the team with a plaque bearing the article that appeared in the July 15, 2013, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, covering the outstanding pro bono work they performed for RSI. From left: RSI Executive Director Susan M. Yates, RSI Appreciation Award Recipient René Ghadimi, and RSI Board President Morton Denlow RSI Appreciation Award