NPR (US National Public Radio) has done a great story on Alaska’s program that uses unbundled pro bono assistance to speed the resolution of cases that are “almost there.”
As I understand the process, the court Self-Help program reviews the cases and identifies those that appear amendable to early resolution in that the parties appear not to be too far apart, and appear to have the capacity to move to agreement.
Those cases are put on a special calendar, and given unbundled pro bono assistance. Most cases are resolved that day.
What is unique about the program, now being replicated in Alaska and maybe beyond, is the use of court staff to screen for those cases in which such intervention will make the most difference — and early example of the diagnostic approach we need.
Stacey Marz runs the program.
Margaret is absolutely right. I was Director of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section when we collaborated with Terry Simonson of Tulsa to create a Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Center. What a success and many courts modeled their DR system based on this experiment. Sincerely, Larry Ray, Attorney/Mediator in Washington, D.C
Thanks, Richard, for highlighting this NPR Story about the Alaska ADR program.
After reading and listening to the NPR story, this strikes me as Frank Sanders (professor at Harvard Law in the early 80’s) vision come true!
Someone in the Courthouse acts as a gatekeeper of sorts… Reviewing cases with an eye toward identifying which actions should be resolved through mediation, those which are suited or ripe for arbitration, and identifying those disputes which should be litigated.
In the early 80’s while in law school, I had the great privilege and training to work for an ABA on a Pilot project which was born from a paper written by Dr. Sanders called the Multi-Door Courthouse of the Year 2000. Read more of the history on this blog http://www.mediate.com/articles/firestoneG1.cfm
Tulsa was one of 3 communities, along with Houston and Washington D.C., participating in the pilot project which came into being from this presentation of Frank Sanders and the then ABA Standing Committee on ADR. Mediation – a very new tool in the legal community at the time. One of the many positive outcomes of the Tulsa project (developed and led by Terry A. Simonson) was the first mediation legislation and the first group of mediators trained and ‘certified’ in Oklahoma.
Margaret Hamlett Shinn
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma