Dear SCMA Members:
Springtime brings new growth, awakening and change. As you have likely heard, exciting changes are happening at SCMA this spring, including the formation of an SCMA Mediation Program to assist litigants who formerly had access to the LA Superior Court ADR program. The LA Superior Court ADR program has officially notified the public that the entire ADR department is shutting down by the end of June. No new cases will be referred to mediation after March 10. All current cases are required to be set for hearings by May 10, 2013. We have been asked to remind panel members to cooperate with ADR administrators in helping close all open files by the end of June, which is important for reporting purposes. Follow their directions, do not argue, and please be kind, courteous and sympathetic to the court’s ADR staff, as many of them face an uncertain future.
SCMA has already committed to help the public, the court, and our members in transitioning to a new era of private mediation. We are announcing the formation of our own directory of SCMA members who will continue to provide mediation services for court cases, and we invite members of the court mediation panels to join SCMA so that they can be part of this exciting new program. We are in the process of upgrading the SCMA website so that litigants will be able to select a mediator by various relevant criteria. At least through the end of 2013, we do not intend to impose any administrative fees for public use of SCMA services in assisting litigants in selecting a mediator. We also plan to charge no fees for SCMA members who meet the qualifications for listing on the directory through December 31, 2013. Qualifications will likely be similar to those currently required for the court panels, so that users will be assured that anyone selected from the SCMA directory will have a minimum level of training. We are very excited about this program and hope that members will help us spread the word about its availability.
We are also very excited about SCMA’s upcoming programming. On Friday, March 22, 2013 SCMA is presenting a half-day institute entitled “Inside the Mind of a Mediator” featuring Professor Lela P. Love, co-author of “Stories Mediators Tell.” There are lively SCMA study groups meeting regularly in Pasadena, Santa Monica and Orange County. In April, former SCMA President, Jan Schau, will present topics from her new book “View From the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective on Life, Conflict and Human Interaction.” Also being planned are Real Estate, Family Law and Employment Institutes, a Practice Building Event, SCMA’s Summer Soiree, the 25th Annual SCMA Conference on November 2, 2013, and December’s Holiday Party.
If you have not already renewed your membership, you can still do so at the early bird discounted rate of $195 which has been extended through March 31, 2013.
We will continue to put our best foot forward as we embrace a springtime full of opportunities for growth and new challenges! I hope to see you soon at an upcoming program.
All my best,