Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today

RAND Mediation Evaluation

by John Windmueller

From Dr. John Windmueller's blog.

John  Windmueller

Here’s an oldie but goodie: a RAND’s “Evaluation of Mediation and Early Neutral Evaluation Under the 1990 Civil Justice Reform Act”

Mediation advocates are quick to point toward research that strongly supports the value of the work we do, but it’s important to also keep in mind the studies that have been less-than-enthusiastic or definitive about mediation’s value. Here’s the summary of the report’s findings:

An Evaluation of Mediation and Early Neutral Evaluation Under the Civil Justice Reform Act

By: James S. Kakalik, Terence Dunworth, Laural A. Hill, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Marian Oshiro, Nicholas M. Pace, Mary E. Vaiana

The Civil Justice Reform Act of 1990 (CJRA) required each federal district court to develop a case management plan to reduce costs and delay. The legislation also created a pilot program to test six principles of case management, and required an independent evaluation to assess their effects. This report is one of four documents describing the evaluation, which was conducted by RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice. The report describes an assessment of the effects of six different alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs that included mediation and early neutral evaluation. The study found that, once litigation had begun, referral to ADR was not a panacea, nor was it detrimental. Neither time nor costs nor lawyer views of satisfaction or fairness changed significantly as a result of referral to any of these programs; however, lawyers and litigants who participated in the programs liked them. The only statistically significant finding was that cases referred to ADR were more likely to have a monetary outcome. See also MR-800-ICJ, MR-801-ICJ, and MR-802-ICJ.

The complete text of the report is available for download in pdf format here.


Dr. John Windmueller

I’m an Assistant Professor at the University of Baltimore’s Center for Negotiations and Conflict Management. My Ph.D. is in Conflict Analysis & Resolution (George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution) and my MA and BA degrees are in International Affairs (Florida State University). Prior to joining UB’s faculty, for seven years I taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in conflict resolution and interdisciplinary social sciences at George Mason (ICAR and New Century College).

My current research interests include multicultural dialogue, evaluation research, and emerging practices of narrative and frame-based conflict interventions. I’m an active member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, the International Studies Association, and the American Evaluation Association.

On the practitioner side of things, I began my practice work in conflict resolution fourteen years ago as both a court and community mediator. I’ve served as director of a mediation center and have designed and led mediation training courses and workshops. My recent and current practice work has involved conflict resolution, facilitation, and consulting work in the contexts of large-scale community conflicts, organizational conflicts, and international development.

Email Author
Additional articles by John Windmueller