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Montana Overwhelmed by Record Number of Cases; Looks to Innovate

by Jennifer Shack
May 2013

Just Court ADR by Susan M. Yates,Jennifer Shack, Heather Scheiwe Kulp, and Jessica Glowinski.

Jennifer Shack

Montana’s civil caseload topped 50,000 last year. That may not seem to be a lot to those in more populated states, but it’s enough to drive the state’s legislature to act. Citing an overwhelmed bench and litigants deprived of “prompt, careful consideration,” the legislature issued a joint resolution that the state evaluate the cost and effectiveness of current court processes and “identify measures that will help improve the administration of justice and promote the nonadversarial resolution of family law disputes.” It’s yet to be seen if the study will be undertaken, as studies requested by the legislature are prioritized at the end of the legislative session.

It’s great to see a state legislature looking to get data on court performance and trying to find evidence-based solutions to what appears to be a problem for the courts. They say necessity is the mother of invention. Here, it appears to be the mother of evaluation as well.

Biography


Jennifer Shack joined Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) in 1999 and became Director of Research a year later. In this role, she heads up the Monitoring and Evaluation program at RSI, and is the creator of the Court Mediation Effectiveness Tracking System, in use in circuits around Illinois. She also conducts evaluations of mediation programs in state and federal courts in Illinois. 

In another aspect of her position, Ms. Shack is responsible for the growth and evolution of the Court ADR Resource Center, which contains thousands of resources pertaining to the use of ADR in the courts. Most significantly, she led transition of the Resource Center to a new, sophisticated web site, CourtADR.org



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Website: aboutrsi.org/staff.php?ID=9

Additional articles by Jennifer Shack

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