For the Public – FAQs
The Valley Bar Mediation Center was selected for the Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) Vendor Resource List as one of two organizations to provide mediation for litigated civil cases by highly-qualified mediators at affordable prices.
What is mediation and why is it a preferred way to settle disputes?
Mediation is the most cost effective, time saving, efficient way to resolve many types of disputes – between business partners, merchants and customers, brokers and clients, real estate transactions, employment disputes, landlord and tenant, disputes between husband and wife, disputes concerning management of parents’ health and financial affairs and conflicts over inheritance, just to name a few. Mediation is a process whereby a professionally trained neutral facilitates the negotiations between parties to help the them settle a dispute they could not settle themselves. The meetings are voluntary and held in a confidential private setting either jointly with the mediator or separately in private caucuses. No one is bound by the negotiations unless an agreement is reached and signed by all the parties. Parties can bring their lawyers, attend by themselves, or bring a friend or family member. It is less stressful than litigation, and can resolve the dispute sometimes within one day or less.
WHAT IS THE LA SUPERIOR COURT VENDOR RESOURCE LIST FOR MEDIATION?
The Court has a new program to provide high-quality low-cost mediations by independent providers who are experienced lawyer mediators. Information about the program is on the Court’s website at http://www.lacourt.org/division/civil/CI0109.aspx
WHY CHOOSE A MEDIATOR FROM THE VMBC’S PANEL?
All panel mediators have been carefully selected and meet highest standards for mediating civil cases. They have at least 10 years of good standing with the State Bar of California and have practiced various specialized areas of law over long careers. All have extensive training in mediation and experience mediating litigated cases. They have committed to act with the highest ethical standards of the mediation profession and to serve as neutrals with no conflict of interest in all cases. They satisfy required continuing education for mediators. The Center’s Vendor Resource List for mediations is available to civil litigants in selected cases throughout Los Angeles County.
DOES VBMC CHARGE A FEE?
The Center charges a small administrative fee of $50 per party, payable in advance of the mediation directly to the Center by credit card or check. The Center uses Headnote and PayPal for easy payment of fees. We will send each party a link by email to pay by credit card or by direct bank fund transfer.
HOW MUCH DO MEDIATORS ON VMBC’S RESOURCE LIST CHARGE FOR MEDIATION?
Mediators on the Center’s panel have agreed to accept cases on the following terms:
$450 for the first 3 hours, divided equally among parties or in accordance with the agreement of the parties. There is no charge for preparation and review. Any time after the initial 3 hours will be charged at a reduced rate set by the mediator, not to exceed $390 per hour. Payments can be made by check or credit card through Headnote or PayPal when available. The mediator fee is payable directly to the mediator who will provide the parties with a mediation and confidentiality agreement and fee agreement.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF MEDIATORS TO VMBC?
Mediators are independent contractors; not agents or employees of the Center or the Court. They are paid by litigants, not the Center or the Court.
CAN I COMMENT ON HOW WELL THE MEDIATOR PERFORMED?
Yes. The Center will provide each party with a Client Satisfaction Survey. We invite and request that you completed it at the end of the mediation for quality control, assurance and to help us always improve. We request that each party and counsel return the Survey will to the Center.
ARE MEDIATIONS VOLUNTARY AND CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes, mediations are voluntary and confidential under California law. The mediator will provide litigants with a Confidentiality Agreement and Fee Agreement to be signed by all participants before the start of the mediation.
HOW DO I SELECT A MEDIATOR WHO CAN MEDIATE MY CASE?
Litigants should contact VBMC by email at email@example.com or by phone at 833-476-0145 or go to the Center’s website at www.valleybarmediationcenter.com to find a Court-eligible qualified mediator whose credentials and areas of expertise are listed. Please indicate that you are an LA Superior Court resource list litigant and request the discounted fee. Also inform the mediator whether you are an attorney or an unrepresented litigant.
DOES THE COURT, OR TAXPAYERS OR MEDIATORS PAY FOR THE CENTER’S SERVICES?
No. VBMC receives no compensation from the Court or mediators and so far, no taxpayer money. The Center depends entirely on the small administrative fees paid by litigants of $50 per party and on private and public donations. Donations from the public are welcomed.
ARE FEES REDUCED OR WAIVED IF A LITIGANT CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY?
In some circumstances, a litigant who received a fee waiver from the Court can apply for and obtaina mediation without paying their share of the fee. A litigant who does not have a fee waiver from the Court but can establish inability to pay the fee may qualify for a reduction of waiver in the discretion of VMBC.
WHO DO I CONTACT FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A DONATION?
Contact information for the Valley Bar Information Center:
WHY WAS THE VALLEY BAR MEDIATION CENTER SELECTED BY THE COURT TO PROVIDE MEDIATION SERVICES TO LITIGANTS AS ONE OF THE RESOURCE LIST VENDORS?
The Center submitted a proposal to offer mediation services in response to the Court’s Request for Proposal (RFP) and after going through the review process, the Center was selected as one of two vendors for the new Civil Mediation Vendor Resource List.
WHY WAS THE VALLEY BAR MEDIATION CENTER FORMED?
In response to termination of the LA Superior Court program in 2013, for budgetary reasons, the Center was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation to educate the public about the benefits of resolving disputes through mediation and provide high quality, affordable mediation services to. It is sponsored by the San Fernando Valley Bar Association and the Center’s board members include past and current presidents of the SFVBA. The Center’s mission is to help people with legal disputes throughout the County of Los Angeles save the expense of litigation by early resolution of cases and to help reduce court congestion and the heavy cost of litigation on the Courts.
Instructions & Forms
The following forms will be needed for your mediation.
- Agreement to Mediate including Waiver & Release and Confidentiality – Download and review prior to mediation.
- Settlement Agreement – After parties have reached an agreement on all or some issues, the Settlement Agreement will reflect of the areas of consensus. This document must be filed by the parties with the court in a timely fashion.
- Evaluation Form – At the conclusion of the mediation, parties will evaluate the mediator and the mediation process by using this form. The form will be filled in at the end of the mediation. – Download Form
- Briefs – It is customary for the parties to submit their briefs to help mediators learning about the case. The optimal time for submission is 7 business days prior to mediation. The briefs should not exceed 10 pages and any additional documents and evidence should be sent by mail, attached to email, or faxed to mediator. The briefs will be deemed as confidential, unless parties agree otherwise. Your selected mediator can help you prepare the brief.
For two party mediation: Three hours at $75 per hour per party = $225 per party
For three party mediation: Three hours at $50 per hour per party = $150 per party
If the number of parties exceeds three, parties will determine the payment structure.
* Three hours includes only the mediation time at the table. It does not include preparation or driving. Mediators will not charge for case preparation and commute. If there is a charge for the room, arrangements will be made between the mediators and the parties.
HOW DO I PAY?
Payment for the mediation is made directly to the Mediator. VBMC charges a small administrative fee of $50 per party, payable in advance of the mediation directly to the VBMC by credit card or check. VBMC uses Headnote and PayPal for easy payment of fees.