We are pleased to announce the call for nominations for the five (5) available seats on the 2018-2019 Board of Directors of the Southern California Mediation Association. The SCMA is seeking candidates that have an interest and/or background in finance, programming and membership.
Service on the SCMA Board will help you grow personally and professionally, gain unique experience, and provide an opportunity to drive the decisions of our organization.
Any member of SCMA who will have been a member of the organization for at least one year prior to commencement of the next term is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. Nominations must be in writing and should be accompanied by a proposed candidate’s statement and photo. The candidate’s statement should be 200 words or less and include the candidate’s background, experience, and the reasons the candidate wishes to serve on the Board. Nominations must be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27, 2017. Ballots will be sent out to members by September 4, 2018 and the election results will be announced at the Annual Conference on November 2-3, 2018.
We have formed a Nominating Committee to nominate candidates for the five open seats on the board. The Nominating Committee consists of Past President Jason Harper, President-Elect Jack Goetz, President-Elect, Angela Reddock-Wright, and Non Board Members Stacey Lisk and Wendy Forrester.
Nominations should be submitted by email to following:
SCMA Former President, Phyllis Pollack, was kind enough to provide the following Legislative update:
On July 18, 2018, SB 766 was signed by Governor Brown. It enacts new Sections 1297.185-1297.188 to the Code of Civil Procedure. These statutes now allow for attorneys admitted to practice in a foreign jurisdiction (i.e. outside of the United States) who are in good standing to provide legal services in an international commercial arbitration or related conciliation, mediation or alternative dispute resolution proceeding as long as certain conditions are met as set out in the statute. Essentially, the foreign attorney must associate in local counsel who shall actively participate in the matter.
This is an exciting time for the SCMA as our membership reaches record highs and our programing and events continue to expand and are well attended. It is a good time to reflect on the history of our organization. Recently, at the Past President’s Breakfast in April, our SCMA former Presidents shared stories and remembrances of their time in office. This wonderful compilation of stories included many achievements and successes of the SCMA in promoting and supporting mediators in Southern California, but these were tempered by recollections of some challenges that the organization encountered along the way. This dialogue inspired our current President, Dr. Jack R. Goetz, Esq., to lead an initiative with the Communications Committee and key members of our community to draft a history of the SCMA featured in the “About SCMA” section of our website. The new section features the many layered story of the early days of SCMA’s creation to the present day.
The SCMA is excited to announce our new Facebook Group! In an ongoing effort to create a positive community and foster open communication among members, we have a new forum in which members can ask questions, share ideas, post important updates, and network with member colleagues. We will also use it to keep everyone informed of news, announcements, events and more.
This is a “Closed Group” meaning people on Facebook can find and see who’s in it, but only members can see posts.
Because our goal is to create an environment of Mediation and Conflict Resolution Professionals, you will be asked to answer a couple of questions upon requesting to join.
I hope all is well. I am writing to update you on our Professional Development Groups (PDGs).
We would like to thank West Los Angeles PDG Leader, Stacey Lisk, for accepting the role of PDG Chairperson for all of our PDG’s. Stacey has picked up the mantle from Mark Lewis who provided great leadership in this role for the past couple of years. Along with our current PDG Group Leaders, Stacey will assist SCMA in thinking through the future growth and expansion of our PDG’s and ensuring that our PDG’s continue to be a value-added benefit of membership in SCMA.
If you are interested in attending a PDG, getting more involved with a PDG, and/or starting a PDG in your local area, please feel free to reach out to Stacey or me, or any of our PDG leaders below. Our current PDG groups and group leaders are as follows:
Pasadena – John Irwin, PDG Leader: email@example.com
San Fernando Valley – James (“Jim”) Cameron, PDG Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Bay Los Angeles – Mark Sarni, Andy Shelby, and Marvin Whistler –
Co-PDG Leaders: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
West Los Angeles – Stacey Lisk, PDG Leader: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also are looking forward to re-igniting our Santa Barbara and San Diego PDG’s in addition to starting PDG’s in Orange County and the Inland Empire.
We look forward to seeing you at a future PDG meeting. Have a great evening and remainder of the week.
Angela J. Reddock-Wright, Esq.
We are delighted to tell you about our launch of new webinar series starting with two new webinars to assist you with building your mediation network and practice. Each webinar will be an hour-long interactive session hosted by an SCMA Special Guest Presenter.
Though all of our sessions will be available to watch on-demand, we hope you’ll join us live. If you do, you’ll have a chance to ask questions of the presenters.
Sign up using the links below. We look forward to talking to you! If you miss these webinars live, you can always watch them on-demand by clicking on the same links and registering.
Building your Skills and Mediation Practice with Nikki Tolt
On October 4, 2017, the Los Angeles County Superior Court (LASC) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for civil mediation services. The RFP offers mediation providers the opportunity to help settle LASC cases in an effort to address LASC’s growing calendar overload. However, the RFP controversially excludes non-attorney mediators and attorney mediators with less than ten years of California Bar membership. This effectively disqualifies a significant number of mediators, many of whom have been successfully settling LASC cases for years. More- over, these restrictions have no basis in research on mediation success, which shows little difference in settlement rates between attorney and non- attorney mediators.
LASC’s RFP is a wake-up call for the mediation community. The RFP is evidence that if we fail to establish our own mediator qualifications, oth- ers will do it for us. And too often, they will do it in a way that is incon- sistent with our shared values and the values of the mediation profession. The RFP confirms the fears that have long existed in mediation circles. For example, in 2006 the San Diego-based National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) wrote:
The critical need for [a discussion on mediator qualifications] among those who practice is accentuated by the legitimate fear that if we don’t decide these things for our- selves (in the spirit of mediation, the empowering process that requires accountability and responsibility on the part of our clients), someone else will. We cannot afford an- other ‘surrogate’ profession to set the standards and in- form the consumers. … We believe that mediators should be the ones to establish mediator standards and enforce the guidelines that are essential to practice.
Fortunately, SCMA has not been idle. For several years, SCMA has investigated mediator credentialing through an ad hoc committee. The committee spent over five years listening to the community, evaluating research on the issue, and debating options. In its final report in 2013, the commit- tee wrote:
Whether the practice of mediation should be regulated or credentialed in any way has long been a contentious topic within the ADR community, which has yet to reach consensus on the issue. On the one hand, many practitioners see no compelling need for regulation or certification, as there has been no public outcry for it. … On the other hand, many mediators desire a credential that would be of benefit to themselves and the public. … These mediators favor some sort of credentialing out of interest in promoting and supporting the highest standards for our field and, for some, out of fear that unless we mediators regulate or certify ourselves, someone else will do it for us.
The committee concluded that a system of voluntary mediator certification would benefit both the public and the profession.
The committee’s efforts have led to the formation of a sister organization—the Mediator Certification Consortium of California (MC3)—that is creating a voluntary mediator certification that we hope will become the gold standard for the mediation profession. MC3 certification qualifies mediators based upon their mediation background, relevant education, and demonstrated skills. It requires:
80 hours of mediator education and training;
Performance criteria that includes prior mediation experience;
Live scan (fingerprinting) to ensure that inappropriate persons are not credentialed;
Criteria that require certified mediators to complete continuing education;
Commitment by mediators to both the ABA/AAA/ACR Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators and the California Rules of Court; and
A quality assurance process that will track complaints and, when necessary, discipline certified mediators.
MC3 certification will require that non-attorney mediators take a nuts-and-bolts course on litigation terminology, processes, rules, and procedures, similar to the prior requirement of LASC’s ADR panel. It will also require participating mediators to take the course on mediation ethics contained in the California Rules of Court as it is currently administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
LASC’s RFP is a missed opportunity. But it is also a chance for us to come together as mediators and create something better for our courts and our communities, and ultimately, for our profession. And that is an opportunity that we don’t want to miss.