It feels like the year is flying by already! I would first like to thank Phyllis Pollack and Lee Blackman for their highly informative program on Feburary 11 where they highlighted the latest updates regarding mediator confidentiality from the California Law Review Commission. I look forward to any update they will provide moving forward.
I would also like to let you all know that the SCMA has issued our 3rd annual challenge grant to the SCMA Education Foundation (SCMA-EF). The SCMA-EF is the charitable arm of the SCMA and their work centers on supporting Peer Mediation programs and the students who serve as mediators. Please go to www.scmaedfoundation.org for more information. If you act now, the SCMA will double your donation up to $1,000!
March looks to be another great month for SCMA. As you all know, Mediation Awareness Week begins on March 27 and we have a couple of noteworthy events planned. On March 29, there will be a special event at LA City Hall where the leaders of plaintiffs’ and defense attorney bars, the City Attorney, and a host of others will speak with the LA City Council on the importance of mediation in our community. Among the speakers present that day will be our own President-Elect, Dr. Jack Goetz, who will receive a Certificate of Commendation on behalf of SCMA. On the following night of March 30, Dan Ben-Zvi will present a program titled “Cutting Edge Mediation and Ethics” at the Santa Monica Doubletree Hotel. Please go to our website for more information on what promises to be a great program.
As the hub of the Southern California mediation community, the SCMA is very excited to celebrate Mediation Awareness Week. Mediation is often referred to as an “alternative” form of dispute resolution, but the fact is that more disputes are resolved by way of mediation than by court proceedings and arbitration combined. Despite that fact, mediation remains the least known and the most misunderstood form of dispute resolution by the public at-large.
Mediation Awareness Week provides an opportunity to educate the public about the value of mediation and the many quality mediation services that are available in Southern California. Our goal during Mediation Awareness Week is to remind the public that there is another way. In disputes ranging from neighbor issues, to personal injury, to special education services for children with special needs, we need to let people know that conflict is inevitable, but combat is a choice.
I look forward to seeing you at our next event.
Jason A. Harper, President
Southern California Mediation Association