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Wissler research on settlement procedures published

November 29, 2011

Two articles reporting lawyers’ views of court-connected settlement procedures in federal court, written by Roselle Wissler, Research Director of the College of Law’s Lodestar Dispute Resolution Program, were recently published.

“Court-Connected Settlement Procedures: Mediation and Judicial Settlement Conferences,” published in the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, reports the findings of a survey that provides a rare look at lawyers’ views of several models of judicial settlement conferences and mediation.

The findings show that lawyers tended to view mediation with staff mediators more favorably than both types of judicial settlement conferences and than mediation with volunteer mediators.  Lawyers thought that settlement conferences with judges not assigned to the case raised substantially fewer concerns than settlement conferences with judges assigned to the case, while having most of the same benefits.  Mediation with volunteer mediators presented a mixed picture relative to both judicial settlement conference models.

According to Wissler’s research, lawyers’ strong overall preference for staff mediation suggests that, when they consider all dimensions, lawyers assign greater importance to being able to discuss settlement openly and fully, without fear of negative consequences and with meaningful client involvement, than to the greater credibility judges may offer.

The findings in large part reflect inherent structural differences among the settlement procedures, including the neutrals' decision-making role, closeness to the trial judge, and proportion of their work life spent facilitating settlement. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these and additional research findings for courts' choices among the models of mediation and judicial settlement conferences.

To read the article, click here.

A second article, “Judicial Settlement Conferences and Staff Mediation: Empirical Research Findings” appeared in the summer 2011 issue of the Dispute Resolution Magazine. It provides a brief summary of the findings regarding staff mediation and judicial settlement conferences.

Click here to read this article.

Wissler, a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, conducts empirical research on mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. Her research and writing address various policy issues relating to ADR and examine the factors that contribute to the use and effectiveness of ADR processes.