Legal aid attorneys, volunteers, staff members, and pro bono attorneys manage a variety of client needs. Increasingly, client needs result in legal aid professionals creating, using or referring clients to alternative dispute resolution systems. The rapid pace of legal aid offices demands that legal aid professionals have a working knowledge of available ADR systems in their area and how their clients can access them. In some cases, legal aid professionals will represent clients in an ADR process, including, but not limited to, child custody mediation, foreclosure conciliation, or landlord/tenant mediation. These resources are intended to equip legal aid professionals to better serve their clients with and in ADR systems.
Resources describing the advantages of ADR for low-income clients
- Accessing Justice through Mediation: Pathways for Poor and Low-Income Disputants by Susan M. Yates, et al. - This study by Resolution Systems Institute responds to the Illinois Equal Justice Act and a legal needs survey conducted in Illinois in 2005. The study examines how mediation can be an effective path to justice for poor and low-income disputants in Illinois, especially in the areas of family, housing and consumer disputes.
Resources for Pro Bono Attorneys and Program Coordinators
- A Manual for Legal Services and Pro Bono Mediation Programs by Joan F. Tobin and the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution - A guide for designing and implementing a mediation program in a pro bono or legal services program.
- National Association for Community Mediation Program Locator – Search NAFCM's database of community mediation centers in the United States to find local programs.
Resources for Illinois-specific legal issues and ADR
- Court ADR in Illinois - RSI's comprehensive reference for information on court ADR in the state and federal courts of Illinois.
- Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Programs - Under a grant from the Illinois Attorney General, RSI is conducting three foreclosure mediation programs in northern Illinois, providing training for foreclosure mediators throughout the state, has designed a statewide, online case management and monitoring system for all programs, and will conduct two evaluations of the programs.
- Settlement Assistance Program for Pro Se Litigants in the Northern District of Illinois- A model of a partnership between attorneys and the federal court.
Resources for Specific Areas of Law
- Utah State Court Family Mediation flow chart - This chart outlines the steps from filing a case to concluding mediation in divorce cases.
- What is Family Mediation? - This web page from Michigan Legal Aid describes the benefits of mediation and the process for participating in a family mediation.
- Have You Considered Mediation? - This brief explanation of mediation by New Hampshire Legal Aid describes the benefits, process and cost of mediation.
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Resource Center - The AFCC is an interdisciplinary association of "professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict." Its Resource Center provides articles and guides on helping families through the divorce process.