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What is mediation?

Mediation is a structured process of assisted negotiation that helps people in conflict build a mutually agreeable and sustainable resolution. The mediator is an impartial facilitator that creates a safe space for sharing perspectives, clarifying the problem and collaborating on a solution. The mediator does not provide the answers, they instead ask questions that empower parties to come up with their own answers. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and low-risk.

Why mediate:

  • Mutually satisfactory outcomes: When solutions have been agreed to and not imposed by a judge or arbitrator, the parties have higher satisfaction and are much more likely to comply with agreements.

  • Custom, comprehensive and achievable agreements: Mediated settlements can address more than the legal issues and ensure that the settlement is achievable and sustainable.

  • Self-determination: Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the outcome as they are empowered by this voluntary process.

  • Fits your schedule: Mediation is flexibly scheduled and can produce an agreement much more rapidly than litigation.

  • Low-stress: Mediation is an informal and confidential process that reduces anxiety and embarrassment.

  • Relationship management: Many conflicts involve a relationship that will continue into the future in some form. A mediated settlement that addresses all parties’ interests helps to preserve and, in some cases, strengthen the relationship.

Types of disputes we can help with

Community Mediation

  • Landlord/Tenant

  • Family Relationships

  • Neighbor Disputes

Business and NonProfit

  • Supervisor/supervisee

  • Co-worker

  • Contracts

  • Partnership

  • Merchant/consumer

  • Real Estate

Through Placer Courts

  • Small Claims

  • Civil Harassment

  • Unlawful Detainer

  • What is the typical outcome of mediation?
    Mediation has a very high success rate - a recent national study shows that around 70% of mediated disputes reach a settlement. Even when a dispute is not settled in mediation, key issues are identified and some may be resolved.
  • When should I mediate?
    The best time to mediate is before an issue escalates to litigation. Mediation is obviously more cost effective before a lawsuit, but it can be used before, during or after court proceedings. Mediation can also be used as a preventative measure for conflicts that won’t lead to litigation, but have significant emotional cost.
  • How much time will mediation take?
    Mediation sessions are typically 2-3 hours. Complex issues and multiple parties may require more than one session.
  • How much will mediation cost?
    We offer professional mediation services on a sliding scale rate per party and per session. Payment from both parties is required to schedule a mediation. A typical mediation will require one 2-3 hour session. Complex issues and multiple parties may require more than one session. For cases that are particularly complex and difficult to schedule, we may charge a case development fee. Please contact us for specific case fees.
  • What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
    In both mediation and arbitration, the parties bring their dispute to a third party. In arbitration, the parties communicate only with the arbitrator, and the arbitrator decides what should happen. In mediation, the parties speak with the mediator and each other. The mediator does not decide what should happen, but assists the participants to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
  • What if the other side is reluctant to agree to mediate?
    It is difficult to know whether a party will agree to something until they are asked. Given that the alternatives are lengthy, stressful and expensive, we find that people tend to be very agreeable to the idea of mediation. In some cases, hearing the request from a neutral third party makes it easier to accept the idea of mediation. In cases where the other party doesn't agree to mediate, we can offer you conflict coaching services to help you navigate the situation. Note that this is not a substitute for legal advice or advocacy.
  • What if the other party is reluctant to reach a settlement?
    It is much easier to maintain unreasonable positions in arguments and letters than it is in person with an impartial 3rd party present. Once a party enters into mediated dialogue, polarization and extreme positions tend to fall away and progress toward a reasonable settlement follows.
  • How can mediation work if the other side is mean spirited, unreasonable, and we just can’t talk to each other?"
    Successful mediation does not depend on parties being reasonable, friendly, or even on talking terms. If both parties agree to mediate, they have a great chance to achieve a settlement. With years of experience negotiating complex issues, we have successfully resolved seemingly impossible conflicts between the most impossible parties.
  • What if we just can’t be in the same room?
    The parties do not have to be in the same room to achieve a resolution. In our volunteer work for the Superior Court, we have resolved matters where the parties were under court order to not have contact with the other. As trained mediators, we can use a process called caucusing (or “shuttle diplomacy”) where we keep the parties in separate rooms and meet privately with each party. Caucusing may be used for some or all of a mediation session.
  • Will mediation work if I don’t want to compromise?
    Mediation is not a process of universal compromise or convincing one side to give in to the other. Mediation promotes understanding and generates agreement opportunities that neither party could create independently. We understand that parties will often have differing perspectives and seemingly unresolvable positions.
  • Is an agreement reached in mediation enforceable?
    A written mediated agreement signed by all parties is enforceable in the same manner as any other written contract. In fact, mediated settlements are less likely to return to conflict because the agreement is made by both parties instead of being imposed on them.
  • Who do you provide services to?
    We offer mediation, training and conflict coaching services to those who live in, or own property or a business in Placer County.
  • Where do you mediate?
    We have a dedicated mediation space at the Placer County Public Defender's offices located at: 3785 Placer Corporate Drive, Rocklin, CA 95765 We also have an office in Tahoe City located at: 925 Northlake Blvd Suite B203, Tahoe City, CA 95730 Occasionally, we may use other meeting spaces in Placer County. Where appropriate, we can also meet at a place of your choosing. An in-person mediation is preferable, but in situations where it is not practical, we offer virtual mediation services utilizing Zoom videoconferencing.
  • How do I make a mediation happen?
    If you are interested in using mediation to work out a solution that has eluded you, all you need to do is call us at (916) 234-0045. You can also email us at: We’ll ask you about the dispute, go over various options for inviting the other person to participate, and guide you through the next steps.

Testimonials from anonymous mediation participants

"Our mediator was excellent at grasping our issues, being warm but impartial and helping us find common ground."
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