Community Mediation

LACBA‘s Center for Civic Mediation offers three free hours of mediation to individuals and business. So what is the catch? The subject of the dispute or participants must have some connection to the County of Los Angeles.

The Center assists with a wide range of disputes including: Landlord-tenant, Neighbor to neighbor, Real estate, Business, and Interpersonal disputes. The Center assigns the Mediator based on the subject matter, location and needs of the participants. All Mediator applicants are subject to the approval of the Center and must meet requirements set forth by the organization prior to being placed on their official roster.

The Center’s highlights three important pillars in the mediation process:

The mediation process is voluntary, and parties must willfully agree to partake.

The process is confidential. Similar to the Vegas motto… “What happens in mediation stays in the mediation.” The California Evidence Code goes into further discussion regarding the subject of mediation confidentiality and the admissibility of communications made in the context of mediation.

The Mediator is acting as a neutral person, who has no decision making power over the outcome. The Mediator’s role is to facilitate a fluent discussion, assisting participants in working toward a mutually agreeable agreement. The participants are the holders of any outcome and that outcome must be mutually agreed upon.

Contact the Center at 213.896.6533 or email to


Telephonic Mediation

Reflecting back over a mediation I had last week where participants appeared over the phone, I realized how relaxed both the parties and myself seemed during the process.  Words like safety and comfort came to me most immediately.  Familiar surroundings such as one’s home or office subsides  fear of an unfamiliar place to the participants and also allows them to create their own most comfortable environment.  I wondered if or how these factors may play into building a fluent and constructive conversation.

I also found the environment aspect of the telephonic mediation a plus.  My own familiar office,  my desk, drinking a cup of coffee.  Yet, other cues such as body language and facial expressions are except from the mediator tool box in a telephonic mediation.  Voice tonality, speed of speech, and overall volume are certainly important clues for the mediator in this arrangement.

Overall, the case settled and the participants were happy with the outcome.  Due to the differing locations we circulated signatures electronically.  Accessibility to your computer with internet connection as well as fax and email is EXTREMELY helpful if you plan to do telephonic mediation.  After all, it is nice to get the verbal agreement, but GREAT to get the signed stipulation.