For the Public

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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.

Why choose VBMC?

For many years, mediation has been a process used to resolve disputes between parties in conflict. In many cities, it became the alternative to litigation. For 20 years, there was an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program under Los Angeles County Superior Court which helped litigants and legal professionals to expedite the court system’s process.  The ADR program was canceled in 2013. There is a growing need to fill the void.  San Fernando Valley Bar Association recognized this need and launched the Valley Bar Mediation Center. 

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is a third party, neutral whose obligations are to be impartial and fair to all parties.  The mediator facilitates the parties’ discussions, enables them clarify the issues, and helps them reach an understanding that will move parties toward the resolution of their dispute. The parties determine when and if settlement is reached.

What are the Advantages of Mediation?

In court litigated cases, the judge decides for parties the terms of settlement.  In mediation,  parties participate in their own decision-making process.  During mediation parties can discuss their conflict in a confidential, voluntary, and collaborative manner. The goal of mediation is to reach a negotiated resolution acceptable to all parties.

How do I find a mediator?

Search for a mediator by specialty and locality  in our easy to use Mediator Directory. You can choose from our panel of highly skilled, professional certified mediators who have been selected through a rigorous vetting process for their education, expertise, experience and ethical standards.  Our panelists have experience resolving many different types of disputes such as family law, probate, civil cases such as personal injury, real estate, business disputes, employment, and community disputes.  Regardless if you have a situation when you have already filed a law suit, or you are thinking of filing a lawsuit, but it hasn’t been taken to the court, both scenarios will be handled by the members of our panels.

Now that you’ve found a mediator, how do you start?

Once you’ve identified a mediator, give them a call and explain your situation; arrange a meeting. The mediator will guide you through the process, explain the forms you need to use, and help you determine a location where a mediation would take place. The mediator can schedule a preliminary meeting with the counsels on both sides.  At the end of each mediation session, the mediator can suggest steps for moving forward or conclusion.

Do you need help deciding?

If the parties, and their respective counsels, have difficulty deciding which mediator to choose, please call our office at 818.111.1111, and we’ll offer three options based upon specialty and experience.

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.

Mediators are prepared to answer questions about any of these forms.
Settlement Agreement FormDownload
Settlement StipulationDownload
Confidentiality and Mediation AgreementDownload

Fees

VBMC does not charge attorneys or their clients any fees, which allows us to keep the cost of mediation affordable.  VBMC is supported entirely by contributions from individual members of the public and foundations.

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.