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<xTITLE>Interview with Susan Yates: The Future of Mediation and Negotiation in Our Culture, Politics and Society</xTITLE>

Interview with Susan Yates: The Future of Mediation and Negotiation in Our Culture, Politics and Society

by Susan Yates
May 2019 Susan Yates

Susan Yates Interview

Recorded by Robert Benjamin on April 16, 2019

“Managing A Force of Nature: ODR and Dispute Resolution Systems Design Standards and Practice “

Susan Yates has been a mediator since 1983 and the Executive Director of the Resolution Systems Institute (RSI), a nationally recognized organization dedicated to strengthening peoples access to justice by enhancing court ADR systems since 1997. In that capacity, along with her colleague, Jennifer Shack, she authored an in-depth study, Accessing Justice Through Mediation: Pathways for Poor and Low-Income Disputants (2007). As she says, “courts are where the disputes are” and importantly, the justice system is an essential pillar of our democracy and one of the primary places where people form their beliefs about whether the system is fair or not.

She comes from an activist family where social justice issues were a regular topic of discussion. And, after graduatiing from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1980, worked for a Labor Union for a period of time before moving toward mediation practice.



Susan Yates has been Executive Director of Resolution Systems Institute (RSI) since 1997. In this role, she is responsible for implementing the organizational mission of improving the effectiveness of court-related alternative dispute resolution methods and for overall management of a national on-line Court ADR Resource Center, technical assistance to courts that are working to establish or improve their ADR programs, and monitoring and evaluation of court ADR programs.

As Executive Director, Ms. Yates assists state and federal courts throughout Illinois with their development of sound ADR programs. She uses her expertise and years of experience to help them navigate the complexities of program design, such as how to structure referral systems, how to deal with issues including confidentiality and neutrality, and how to ensure quality.


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