Just call me! There is no charge for an initial telephone consultation, in which we should discuss the nature of the dispute, the identity of the parties, scheduling and fees. Fees are negotiable depending on the size and complexity of the matter. My standard rate is $450 an hour ($225 per side per hour), minimum of three hours. Half day and full day rates are also available (generally $1600 for half day; $3000 for full day) Parties are expected to sign a retainer and confidentiality agreement, and to pay for the first three hours in advance.
LA County Superior Court
As of March 2013, the LA County Superior Court has disbanded its mediation panels. State court judges are no longer referring parties to mediation or scheduling mediation completion dates or post-mediation status conferences, though some judges are still reportedly strongly encouraging parties to engage in private mediation.
One useful resource to locate many of the mediators who previously served on the state court panels is the SCMA Select a Mediator directory, a resource I helped develop to assist parties that have been left somewhat adrift by the demise of the court program.
State court mediations take place under fairly strict rules of confidentiality. If the parties reach an agreement at the mediation, it needs to be in writing to be enforceable.
California Code of Civil Procedure sections governing civil action mediation are set forth in C.C.P. Section 1775 et seq. Rules of conduct applicable to mediators in court-connected programs are set forth in C.R.C. 3.850 et seq.
Central District Federal Court
Local Rule 16-15 generally requires the parties to choose one of three settlement procedures: (1) a settlement conference with a judge, (2) a settlement conference with an attorney from the attorney settlement officer panel, or (3) a settlement proceeding before a retired judge or other member of a private dispute resolution service.
If the parties choose a member of the settlement officer panel, it is necessary to ascertain whether the proposed panel mediator is available before submitting that person's name to the judge. Feel free to call my number to find out if I am available: 213-437-1720. If for some reason I am unavailable, there are a number of other fine mediators on the panel. Panel mediators donate the first three hours of their time pro bono, after which it is necessary to negotiate a fee, generally on an hourly rate basis for any additional necessary time. Here is the full description of the procedures necessary for use of the settlement officer panel, from the court's website:
The parties must access the Attorney Settlement Officer Panel List available from the website. There are two panel lists on the website, one alphabetical and the other by area of law. The website also contains personal profiles of those panel members who voluntarily provided such information. The Attorney Settlement Officer Panel List is updated periodically by the Panel Coordinator. If the parties do not have the ability to access the website, the parties may contact the courtroom deputy to the assigned judge for the case. The courtroom deputy will make a photocopy of the appropriate section of the list that relates to the type of case that the parties are litigating and fax or mail that appropriate section to the requesting party. The parties shall then make a selection from the list, obtain consent from the Attorney Settlement Officer selected and file a Stipulation Regarding Selection of Attorney Settlement Officer (ADR-2). The parties and the Attorney Settlement Officer shall arrange for an agreed upon date, time and place for a settlement conference and shall so notify the Panel Coordinator. If the parties cannot agree on an appropriate Attorney Settlement Officer from the list, they shall submit the ADR-2 requesting a random assignment of an Attorney Settlement Officer. The Panel Coordinator will perform the random assignment of an Attorney Settlement Officer from the particular area of law designated on the ADR-2 and will notify the parties by mail of the selection. Within five days after the conclusion of the settlement proceeding, the Attorney Settlement Officer shall file with the court and serve the parties and the Panel Coordinator an Attorney Settlement Officer Proceeding Report (ADR-3). Further questions regarding the Attorney Settlement Officer Panel may be referred to the ADR Program Office at(213) 894-2993.
Central District Bankruptcy Court
Mediation rules and forms for the Central District Bankruptcy Court can be found on the court's website. Click on Forms/Rules/General Orders, then on Mediation. The program is governed by the third amended general order 95-01, which makes disputes arising in adversary proceedings and other contested matters eligible for mediation. Cases are assigned to mediation by the bankruptcy judge. Parties can select their mediator from a list available at court or on the website, and are supposed to contact the mediator to determine their availability. Mediators on the panel are supposed to take up to one pro bono case per quarter.