LEGAL AID PROFESSIONALS
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.
- RSI's Court ADR Pocket Guide - A quick tour through the what, how and why of court ADR.
Resources for Legal Aid Advocacy and Mediation
- The Tennessee State Plan for Civil Legal Justice by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services - Outlines a formal, five-year Mediation Initiative to develop court programs that increase the capacity of civil legal services agencies to serve the needs of low-income Tennesseans.
- Innovative Ways to Increase the Number of Clients Served Without Increasing Your Budget or Staff by Martin Ellin, Debra House, Marc Kalish and Sean Rashkis - This presentation from the 2005 ABA Equal Justice Conference highlights pro bono mediation and ADR hotline efforts to increase the number of clients served.
- Georgia Justice Center Mediation Description Video for Parties - This video, while specific to Georgia's state court mediation program, simply and effectively describes general principles of court mediation, the mediation process, and how a party can best prepare for mediation. It also includes a sample small claims mediation.
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 - An extensive guide for designing and implementing a mediation program in a pro bono or legal services program.
- Pro Bono Mediation Partnerships: Meeting the Needs of Low-Income Clients through ADR by Debra L. House, Marc Kalish and Linda Warren Seely - Some of the partnerships highlighted no longer exist, but the outline of a conference presentation given at the 2004 ABA Equal Justice Conference gives general tips for starting a partnership.
- National Association for Community Mediation Program Locator - NAFCM's interactive map of community mediation centers in the United States is a helpful tool for finding local programs.
Resources for Illinois-specific legal issues and ADR
- Statewide Mediation Access Project - RSI's program development project that creates innovative programs to resolve the pressing, unmet legal needs of poor and low-income individuals.
- Illinois Court ADR Sourcebook - RSI's comprehensive reference for information on court ADR in the state and federal courts of Illinois.
- Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program -Volunteer Training - Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation provides video training for attorneys representing borrowers in foreclosure mediations. Note: this does not qualify attorneys to participate in the Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program.
- Settlement Assistance Program for Pro Se Litigants in the Northern District of Illinois - A model of a partnership between attorneys and the court.
Resources for Specific Areas of Law
- Elder Law
- Equal Justice and Empowerment Through Mediation: Where Do We Stand? by Cheryl Cutrona, David Mandel, Kathryn Mariani, Harvey Strauss and Erica Wood - A presentation at the 2006 ABA Equal Justice Conference that includes descriptions about elder law mediation programs around the country.
- Family 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 website from Michigan Legal Aid describes the benefits of mediation and the process for participating in a family mediation. This resource may be too verbose or complex for some clients.
- 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.