john_desk267x200Here are some frequently asked questions about mediation and about my practice of mediation:

Q. How much does your mediation cost in comparison to negotiating between lawyers or counselors?

A. My fee is about half the cost of a lawyer (though I am a lawyer) and is comparable to the cost of a good therapist/counselor.

Q. Is your mediation confidential, and can the agreement be kept confidential?

A. My mediations are strictly confidential. Even if someone later tries to use the Court to force me to disclose what was said, I can assert confidentiality in almost every situation. As to the agreement, yes it can be kept confidential too, which is why some people prefer mediation to resolve some sensitive disputes.

Q. How flexible is your mediation practice?

A. Timewise, I schedule at your convenience; I have even done mediations on Christmas Day for clients who needed immediate help. In terms of pacing, we move at the pace agreed upon by the parties. Some cases are on a strict time line, others progress according to the emotional bandwidth of the parties.

Q. Are we restricted to the type of agreement we mediate?

A. Not at all, so long as it is generally legal and ethical. I mediate some situations where the law is unclear and the parties want to create their own standards. In addition, we can craft any settlement that works, as opposed to a Court mandated settlement which is often a harsh money judgment.

Q. How does the cost compare to that of using lawyers to bargain for us?
A. The transaction costs for lawyers is very high compared to mediation. Face-to-face mediation eliminates about half of the time, and 3/4 of the cost in resolving a typical dispute.

Q. How long do we have to wait for an appointment?

A. Not long, usually within a few days to a week, depending on how booked my schedule is.

Q. Why do you believe that mediation is so effective?

A. It empowers the parties to make their own decisions based on their sense of the dispute, and the equities contained therein. It gives rein to win-win solutions crafted to suit the situation and the needs of the parties, and helps the parties to see their common ground.

Q. Do I have to meet with my adversary face to face?

A. Not unless you want to. I do many mediations within the criminal justice system and the victims are often concerned at first about face-to-face meetings with the perpetrator, however, by the end of the process, those who choose to meet are usually glad they did. For those who do not want face-to-face meetings, we have facilities that allow the parties to be in separate rooms, and I shuttle between them.

Q. What types of situations have you mediated?

A. The list is pretty long; I have helped well over a thousand people to resolve disputes. I have mediated any number of problems arising from neighborhood disputes, family and relationship disputes, interoffice problems, employment disputes, criminal restitution, divorce, nonprofit and church conflicts, commercial and business disputes, and all types of real estate related disputes including landlord/tenant, adjoining land owner, contractor/owner and Realtor/homeowner disputes.


Central Valley Mediation Service
Serving Modesto, Tracy, Stockton, Ripon, Manteca, Salida, Riverbank and Ceres