Conference Speakers and Biographies

You can find conference workshops:

Opening Plenary (8:45am – 10:00am)
Announcements; Cloke-Millen Peacemaker Award; Kenneth Cloke “Politics, Dialogue & the Evolution of Democracy”


Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution and a mediator, arbitrator, attorney, coach, consultant, and trainer, specializing in communication, negotiation, and resolving complex multi-party conflicts, including community, grievance and workplace disputes, collective bargaining negotiations, organizational and school conflicts, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, and public policy disputes. Ken also specializes in designing preventative conflict resolution systems for organizations and has done work in conflict resolution all over the world. He is a former President and co-founder of Mediators Beyond Borders and a nationally recognized speaker and a prolific author of many journal articles and books, including Mediation: Revenge and the Magic of Forgiveness, Mediating Dangerously, The Crossroads of Conflict, and Conflict Revolution. In addition, Ken is co-author with Joan Goldsmith of a number of books, including Resolving Conflicts at Work, and The Art of Waking People Up. His latest book, Politics, Dialogue and the Evolution of Democracy will be available for purchase at the Conference and there will be an exclusive book signing during the Saturday Conference Luncheon.

Workshop 1 (10:30am – 11:45am)
Mediators Effecting Systems Change Step by Step

Avis Ridley-Thomas founded Los Angeles City Attorney’s Dispute Resolution Program (LACADRP) in 1989, and served as Director until retiring in March 2011. Having trained over 2000 community mediators during her tenure, and serving as a UCLA Lecturer since 2001 for upper division undergraduates, post retirement, she transitioned to Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Nonviolence in LA (INVLA). With a refined focus on peer mediation and Days of Dialogue on various topics, Ms. Ridley-Thomas and INVLA have partnered with organizations throughout the country to advance deliberative democracy and assist young people in constructively resolving disputes before they escalate. Days of Dialogue on the Future of Policing has been a focus of her efforts since 2015. Days of Dialogue on Juvenile Justice is emerging as a partnership with LAPD and the County Dept. of Probation, working to help young people in Juvenile Halls and Probation Camps understand and improve interactions with local law enforcement.

Workshop 2 (10:30am – 11:45am)
More than a Messenger: Advanced Communication Skills for the Modern Mediator

Stacie Feldman Hausner, Esq. is a mediator at ADR Services, Inc. after 20 years as a lawyer specializing in high-stakes litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants. She received an LL.M. in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Straus for many semesters where she has taught both “Mediation Theory and Practice” and the “Mediation Clinic.” She also has taught “Mediating the Litigated Case” program for Straus. Stacie has mediated hundreds of cases for ADR Services, Inc., the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the Center for Conflict Resolution. She specializes in mediating disputes in the areas of business, personal injury, employment, construction defect, real estate, and malpractice. She also spends time presenting MCLE programs to bar associations and law firms on various topics, including, effective attorney advocacy in mediation, optimization of negotiation outcomes, ethics and mediation, psychology and mediation, and gender negotiations.

Jan Frankel Schau has successfully mediated over 1500 litigated cases since giving up her litigation practice and becoming a full-time mediator in 2003. She has been a panel member at ADR Services for over a decade and is widely regarded as one of L.A.’s preeminent mediators, being recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as a Top 50 Neutral. A former President of the Southern California Mediation Association, Jan is also a Distinguished Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and a member of the United States District Court’s Settlement Officers Panel. Jan specializes in mediating employment, business and tort disputes. Jan is the author of numerous scholarly articles and a book, “View from the Middle of the Road: A Mediator’s Perspective to Life, Conflict and Human Interaction”. Jan holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, Ca. and a J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. Most recently, she has proudly joined the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution as Adjunct Faculty, teaching Mediation Skills and Theory.

Workshop 3 (10:30am – 11:45am)
Mediation Awareness Starts in the Schools: The Training, Practice, and Benefits of Peer Mediation Programs in Middle and High Schools

Maria Simpson, Ph.D. has been an organizational conflict consultant for over 20 years. She has worked with executives to develop their leadership skills and with leadership teams to develop more effective decision-making processes. Among her clients are Bank of America, Toyota Financial Services, and Easter Seals Southern California, as well as city agencies and universities. Her executive experience at the NY Academy of Sciences, The Conference Board, and the New School for Social Research has given her an in-depth understanding of how organizations work.

Maria currently serves on the Boards of Empathia Pacific, a national EAP, and the SCMA Education Foundation, which she has chaired since 2013. She has served on a variety of other boards and was an officer of the SCMA, from which she received the SCMA President’s Award in 2012.

Maria has taught in the graduate program on Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at CSU Dominguez Hills for over 12 years, and was a mediator for the LA County Superior Court for over 15 years. Since 2003 Maria has written a weekly column on management communications collected in her book, “Leading Unstoppable Teams!” Her articles have appeared on and in ACResolution.

Karen Crowley-Marks is Dean of Students at University High School in Los Angeles and coordinator of the Peer Mediation Program. She started the program in 2007, which trains approximately 35 students each year. In 2015 she was given the Educational Leadership Award by the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center in Los Angeles for her work with student mediators. Dean Crowley-Marks explained, “The Peer Mediation Program has made such a positive difference at University High School. Kids talk to each other, understand differences, and it has greatly reduced our suspension rate. The Mediators have learned life-long skills that they are utilizing in their lives long after high school.” Dean Crowley-Marks received her B.A. from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.Click edit button to change this text.

Karen DeVoogd, MA, is the former director of Mediator Mentors Project in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University, Fresno, and is currently an instructor in the CalStateTEACH Multiple Subject Credential Program at California State University Fresno and Cal State Los Angeles. Karen is the first author of “Direct Instruction and Guided Practice Matter in Conflict Resolution and Social-Emotional Learning” (Conflict Resolution Journal 2016). Her research measured effects of mediation training on students and student mentors in an urban school district in Central California and focused on perceptions of school climate, bullying and suspensions, conflict strategy choices, and effects on language arts. Karen is also involved with the Online Peer Mediation Project, creating online support materials for peer mediation skill development and online platform practice.

Clayton Joseph Scott – As a high school student Clayton was a peer mediator and has found his mediation skills valuable as a musician.

In 2011, Clayton joined up with the music collective/record-label LuFamPro, whose Los Angeles based events helped spring-board his career

“More Love,” Clayton’s debut, 13-song album, features an array of feel-good roots/rock anthems and “Love Fool”, which is Clayton’s ballad, and fool-hearted story of falling in love. Currently, Clayton can be found opening for acts such as Nikka Costa, Donovan Frankenreiter, Jack Johnson, Trevor Hall, Brett Dennen, and Nahko and Medicine for the People as well as fronting the Venice Beach based band Brightside in venues across the USA.

He’ll talk at this session on how his mediation skills have supported his rise in the music industry.

Workshop 4 (10:30pm – 11:45pm)
Understanding How the Neurobiological Differences Between Men and Women Affects Communication and Collaboration

Michel Zelnick, Esq. calls himself a Business Therapist. He repairs struggling and broken business and family relationships. Using his forty-plus years of experience as a CPA, attorney, business leader, and clinical psychotherapist, he resolves serious communication breakdowns and impasses among and between business and family partners. He gets his clients to figure out how to either work together or separate from one other in a way that doesn’t destroy their businesses, relationships, and wealth. Michel’s education includes a Bachelor of Commerce and a Masters in Accounting from McGill University, as well as a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego.

Workshop 5 (1:00pm – 2:15pm)
Facilitating Apologies and Forgiveness in Mediation

Forrest “Woody” Mosten has been in private mediation practice in Los Angeles since 1979 and teaches mediation, Lawyer as Peacemaker, and Family Law Practice as Adjunct Professor at the UCLA School of Law. He trains professionals in mediation from basic to advanced courses and is in constant demand worldwide as a conference keynote speaker and expert witness on mediation.

Woody serves as a mediator in the following practice areas: Family Law, Business and Partnerships, Real Estate, Commercial Litigation, and other disputes involving complex legal and financial issues and high conflict parties.

Woody is a founding member of SCMA and was named by SCMA as Peacemaker of the Year and has twice served as keynote speaker at the SCMA Annual Conference.

Woody was the 2009 ABA Frank Sander Co-Lecturer and received a Lifetime Career Award from the New York State Mediation Association. He is the past recipient of the ABA Lawyer as Problem Solver Award, ABA Lifetime Legal Access Award, and the Los Angeles County Bar Louis M. Brown Conflict Prevention Award. He is the founding Chair of the Beverly Hills Bar Dispute Resolution Section and has received two major awards for his work in mediation from that organization.

Mr. Mosten is the author of seven books and numerous articles on mediation and other dispute resolution topics.

Workshop 6 (1:00pm – 2:15pm)
Online Defamation & Strategies for Settlement

Mark Lemke, Esq. is a highly-experienced commercial mediator with well over 1,000 mediations to date. He brings a unique combination of experience, having served as plaintiff counsel, defense counsel, and insurance coverage counsel. He specializes in personal injury, catastrophic personal injury wrongful death, and all facets of employment cases. In addition, he serves on the Adjunct Faculty for the Straus Institute, and USC Law School’s Employment Mediation Clinic. Mark holds an LL.M. from Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, J.D. from USC Law School, and B.A. from UC Berkeley. He serves on panels for the EEOC, Central District Court, Court of Appeals, Beverly Hills Bar Association, and Los Angeles County Bar Association. He also serves as a Temporary Judge. Mark is a frequent speaker on mediation topics. He also serves on the Board for the SCMA, and LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles.

Renata L. Hoddinott, Esq. is an Associate Attorney with Haight, Brown & Bonesteel. She is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on Professional Liability, General Liability, Risk Management & Insurance Law and Transportation Law. She has extensive experience representing clients in general and business litigation, labor and employment, real estate, product liability, professional liability, negligence, and premises liability matters. Renata is also a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Prior to joining Haight Brown and Bonesteel’s San Francisco office, Renata served as the dedicated attorney successfully handling all of the business litigation matters for three nationwide corporations. She also regularly lectured at Loyola Law School for one of its Legal Drafting programs.

Martin E. Sullivan, Esq. is an Associate with Ogletree Deakins and just joined Melmed Law Group. Martin advises employers in all aspects of California and Federal employment laws. In litigation, Martin’s practice primarily focuses on defending employers against individual and class action lawsuits involving wage and hour, wrongful termination, disability and protected leave, discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims.

Martin is also Co-Director of USC Gould School of Law’s Employment Mediation Program. In this role, he instructs JD and LLM students in the mediation of real employment cases brought before State and Federal agencies. A mediator himself, Martin also serves as a panel mediator with the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District.

Workshop 7 (1:00pm – 2:15pm)
No Limits – Expand Your Practice by Adding Online Mediation

Among the top 10% in the USA, family law litigator and divorce mediator, Attorney Susan Guthrie founded Divorce in a Better Way to assist people going through the transition of divorce by helping them to find ways to move forward that are less stressful, expensive and time-consuming. In addition, as a mobile family law professional, Susan provides unbundled legal services as well as mediation services to clients via an online platform in both California and Connecticut. Susan established to provide training in the ethical and practical use of the online platform to mediation professionals to allow them to easily expand their client reach and accessibility. Susan’s latest venture is co-hosting “Breaking Free: A Modern Divorce Podcast” with Rebecca Zung, Esq. Susan serves on the Board of the Southern California Mediation Association and is the Chairman of the SCMA’s Communications Committee. She also serves as a Subcommittee Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution’s publication Just Resolutions as well as the Planning Committee for the Section’s Annual Advanced Mediation Institute. Susan regularly contributes to many family law publications and presents frequently at legal events.

Maritza Gutierrez is a Consumer Affairs Supervisor with the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). She is a mediator, investigator, counselor, speaker, instructor, and currently leads a team of talented mediators as Program Manager of DCBA’s award-winning Dispute Resolution Program that provides free mediation services for landlord/tenant, employee/employer; neighbor/neighbor; consumer/merchant, small claims, domestic, family and multi-party disputes through traditional mediation practices and through the use of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).

Mrs. Gutierrez has managed several programs at DCBA including consumer counseling, education, and complaint investigation. She is experienced in dealing with issues involving immigration fraud, elder financial abuse, identity theft, credit disputes, unfair and deceptive business practices, false advertising, and real estate fraud.

Mrs. Gutierrez has more than 19 years of experience in consumer protection, 15 years of which are in mediation, beginning in 2001 through Buena Fe Mediation Services, an agency that served families with low incomes.

Her wealth of knowledge has helped her to better understand how to assist consumers and businesses in Los Angeles County through dispute resolution. She is passionate about helping people resolve conflict, often bringing resolution to long-standing and seemingly hopeless disputes. She had been able to help train mediators to find new approaches to effectively resolve disputes. Through her perseverance, she has obtained settlements that consumers and businesses did not think were possible.

Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Adya Riss received his B.A. in psychology and M.S. in social work (MSW) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At Tennessee, he had his first formal training in mediation and conflict resolution before starting a successful peer mediation program at a local urban low-income elementary school. Since moving to Los Angeles, Adya has been a therapist, social worker, and administrator in various non-profit organizations. After completing five years as a community college psychology instructor, Adya committed to mediation full time. Since receiving advanced training in mediation and conflict resolution from Jack Goetz at CSUN, Adya has been a volunteer mediator and supervisor with the Ventura Center for Dispute Settlement (VCDS), and a partner in Truce Mediation Solutions, a full-service mediation partnership ( Most recently, he has become a co-parent professional, providing on-demand online dispute resolution and coaching in real time for divorced, separated, or never married co-parents for

Workshop 8 (1:00pm – 2:15pm)
Becoming a Certified Professional Mediator – Information and Q&A with the MC3 Board

Victoria Gray is a Mediator with the National Mediation Board She earned her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from California State University at Northridge; has a certificate in Industrial Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles and a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute at the Pepperdine University School of Law. She was a member of the County of Los Angeles Community and Senior Citizens Services Voluntary Mediation Services program and is a member of the Pro Bono Panel of Mediators for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. She is a certified Conflict Coach, teaches and conducts facilitation and mediation and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Mediation Board and Mediators Beyond Borders.

Dr. Jack R. Goetz, Esq. – As a neutral, Dr. Goetz, our current SCMA President, serves the public privately as well as serving on various public panels, including serving as an arbitrator and mediator and now Vice-Chair for the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Attorney-Client Mediation and Arbitration Services, an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Association (FINRA), and a mediator for the Ventura County Superior Court. He is a Board member for the California Academy of Mediation Professionals and SCMA. The Los Angeles Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program honored him as the 2011 “Outstanding Volunteer” for his service to the courts.

Dr. Goetz has advocated for strengthening public protection in mediation as well as social justice issues associated with greater widespread public access to qualified mediators, and currently serves as the Chair for the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) Business Committee on Voluntary Mediator Certification. Dr. Goetz additionally serves as a member of the California State Bar Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Dr. Goetz received his Ph.D. in Education at Capella University (2006), his J.D. at Boston University (1979), his M.B.A. at Pepperdine University (1990), and his B.A. in Economics at San Diego State University (1976).

Barbara Brown, Esq. – After practicing as a litigator for over 28 years, Barbara Brown, Esq. turned her practice to mediation full time in 2006, focusing on business and employment matters. She has trained extensively in different styles of mediation and successfully mediated hundreds of cases in the areas of employment, wage and hour, harassment, lemon law, business partnership, collection, real estate, breach of contract, and civil rights. She is an independent mediator, who, in addition to her private practice, serves on mediator panels for the USDC, the Court of Appeal, and the United States Postal Service. During her years as a litigator Barbara represented individuals and companies both large and small on both plaintiff and defense sides. She had her own firm, The Brown Law Firm, for over 10 years. Before that she spent five years as Senior Counsel at First Interstate Bank and 12 years in private practice. Barbara currently serves as co-chair of the SCMA Committee on Voluntary Mediator Certification. She is also past president of SCMA. Barbara received her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University, her M.A. from Michigan State University, and her J.D. from UCLA.

Jason Harper is the founder of Harper Conflict Resolution, LLC. Utilizing a collaborative approach, Jason mediates disputes in a range of areas, including Education, Employment, Landlord/Tenant, and Homeowner/HOA. His passion, in particular, is teaching peer mediation and conflict resolution to students and faculty at the middle school and high school levels as well as assisting in the creation and coordination of peer mediation programs.

In addition to mediation, Jason is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) consultant, professor, and trainer. Most notably, Jason is the ADR Consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, providing mediation and conflict resolution services to 18 school districts and 27 charter schools. He is an Adjunct Professor of Mediation at Pacific Coast University, School of Law and Lecturer in Law at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law. Jason has also provided mediation and conflict resolution trainings for the Western Justice Center and the International Visitors Council, training adults from over twenty different countries. Further, Jason has been recognized by the California State Senate as well as the United States Congress for his mediation training.

Jason was the 2017 President of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA) and serves on the Board of Directors for the SCMA Education Foundation. Jason received his Master’s Degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding from California State University, Dominguez Hills and his mediation training from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Chris Welch received his Master of Dispute Resolution degree from Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in 2005. Prior to obtaining his Master’s Degree, he graduated from Pepperdine University, Seaver College with his B.A. in Political Science. Chris has worked at CCR since 2004 and has been the Director of CCR since summer 2008. His duties include running day-to-day operations of the Center, interacting with the county regarding the DRP Grant, and maintaining correspondence along with guidance, to both volunteers and students. He has facilitated resolutions in various types of cases primarily in the Small Claims and Community arena. He has done over 350 mediations. This experience extends all the way back to seventh grade when he was first trained as a peer mediator while living outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Workshop 9 (2:30pm – 3:45pm)
Show Me(diators) the Money: Strategies for Success

Wendy W. Kramer, Esq. is a exceptionally effective full-time mediator and arbitrator. Formerly a partner with Kramer & Kramer handling a wide variety of insurance-related matters, she has developed particular expertise in matters involving personal injury, business disputes, professional malpractice, landlord tenant disputes and complex litigation.

In addition to serving as the 2013 President of the Southern California Mediation Association, Ms. Kramer has served as the ADR Chair for the Santa Monica Bar Association, a panel neutral for Kaiser Permanente, the Los Angeles and Ventura Superior Courts ADR Programs, and a Fee Dispute Mediator/Arbitrator for both the Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Bar Associations. Ms. Kramer currently serves on the Board of Governors for the International Academy of Mediation. She has mediated over 2,000 matters and arbitrated over 300 matters. She is known for her ability to deal with difficult personalities, multi-party matters and complicated legal issues.

Mitch Tarighati, Esq. began his legal career working for a solo practitioner, and thereafter as an associate at a boutique firm focusing his practice on representing professional liability claims against real estate agents and brokers. In 2008, he joined a statewide law firm in California, where he developed a new practice area for the firm in the field of education and school liability law. In this capacity, he represented institutional clients in low, mid- and high exposure tort and employment cases. In 2011, he became a Partner nominee and was voted in as a Partner the following year. In 2012, Mr. Tarighati cofounded his own firm of Sepassi & Tarighati, LLP, where in addition to his mediation practice, he pursues a balanced plaintiff and defense practice.

Douglas Schiffer has been in practice since 1982 representing victims injured as a result of the negligent acts of others including: automobile, motorcycle and bicycle accidents as well as slip and falls, dangerous condition of public property, dog bites, medical and professional malpractice, in his private law practice in West Los Angeles. In addition, he has been a mediator and arbitrator with the County of Los Angeles for over 20 years. Mr. Schiffer was on the Superior Court of the State of California Mediation and Arbitration Panel as a member of both the pay panel and the pro bono panel. He has trained at Pepperdine and attended dispute resolution seminars through the ADR office and CAALA and recently expanded his practice to handle outside mediations for private counsel as well as insurance carriers at reasonable and competitive rates. He has mediated and arbitrated over 700 cases and with his long history of representing injured parties has the trust of the Plaintiff’s bar as well as the knowledge of what the defense will be willing do to fairly compromise a claim.

Workshop 10 (2:30pm – 3:45pm)
Dirty Deeds Done At Mediation: Exploring Tactics and Responses

Michael R. Diliberto, Esq. has resolved over 2,000 complex cases as a mediator and arbitrator, with a focus on employment, intellectual property, entertainment and business matters. Michael also serves as an Administrative Law Judge pro tem for the Office of Administrative Hearings, conducting administrative hearings with various agencies of the State of California. A prolific writer, speaker and consultant on mediation, he has trained lawyers and judges in the United States, Europe and South America.

Through the U.S. Department of State, Michael traveled to the Republic of Macedonia to consult with judges and lawyers and prepared a report with recommendations on how to increase the use of mediation in the Macedonian judicial system. He conducted a similar program for lawyers and judges in Ecuador.

A skilled negotiator, Michael teaches negotiations as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School. To keep the creative juices flowing, Michael plays drums and sings in an 11-piece classic rock band, and also performs improv. He recently served as a script consultant and played the role of a criminal defense lawyer for a network television show called “The Trial.” His monthly tips on negotiation strategy are found at

Jeffrey Huron, Esq. is an attorney serves as the Managing Member of Dykema’s Los Angeles office. With 30 years of experience litigating and arbitrating business, real estate and entertainment disputes, Mr. Huron has tried and won multi-million dollar high-stakes cases for a wide range of clients. Mr. Huron also has substantial experience in appellate matters, having handled more than fifty appeals and writs. Mr. Huron has been recognized in Southern California SuperLawyers for Business Litigation every year since 2010. Mr. Huron has also authored several articles on litigation and appellate practice. His article, “Exclusion Preclusion”, discusses how to preserve an appellate record when a court excludes evidence during trial and was featured on the cover of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine. And The United States Supreme Court cited Mr. Huron’s article regarding antitrust remedies in a 9-0 published opinion by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Nicholas Connon, Esq. – For nearly 28 years, Mr. Connon has represented multinationals, major corporations and businesses, partnerships and executives in a wide variety of industries, including the entertainment, defense, financial services, energy and chemicals, and manufacturing sectors. His practice focuses on high stakes litigation and negotiation. Mr. Connon has litigated in a variety of arbitral, judicial, and governmental forums and jurisdictions throughout the United States and abroad. Mr. Connon is the founder and Managing Partner of Connon Wood LLP and also serves as Chair of the Firm’s Middle East Practice Group. He has traveled throughout the Middle East and Europe to assist clients with legal and business matters abroad. He is involved in a number of international bar associations and is the former Chair of the International Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He serves as a mediator for the United States District Court in the Central District of California. Mr. Connon graduated from Indiana University, B.S. Public Affairs, and he holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Judge Enrique Romero – Judge Romero has overseen nearly every type of civil matter, including A-list celebrity disputes, catastrophic personal injury matters, all aspects of labor and employment litigation, insurance coverage disputes, legal malpractice actions, eminent domain/inverse condemnation disputes, and complex business litigation. Judge Romero has earned a stellar reputation for his unique, no-nonsense approach to settling disputes fairly and quickly.

During his eight years on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judge Romero called his calendar at 7 A.M. every morning to preside over initial case management conferences, mandatory settlement conferences, ex parte matters, and law and motion matters, all in the pursuit of resolving matters thoroughly yet expeditiously. Judge Romero presided over as many as 1000 MSCs a year throughout the United States and England. Judge Romero also presided over probate and family law cases and was the Supervising Judge in the South Central District, presiding over the court’s Civil Master Calendar for four years.

Judge Romero is also one of the few dispute resolution professionals with a Master of Law in Taxation, making him well-qualified to handle complex business litigation.

Workshop 11 (2:30pm – 3:45pm)
Eldercaring Coordination: A New Court-Connected ADR process for California probate courts

Sarah J. Gross, M.Ed., J.D., LL.M. is an attorney licensed in the state of California whose practice focuses on elder law and elder dispute resolution. Ms. Gross received a Master’s degree in Education through the University of California, Davis and taught high school and middle school English prior to entering law school at Chapman University Fowler School of Law in Orange, California. While at Chapman, Ms. Gross founded the law school’s Health Law Society. Using her education background, she also contributed to curriculum development and served as teaching assistant for the law school’s Legal Writing Skills course. After completing law school and becoming a licensed attorney, Ms. Gross completed a Master’s in Law (LL.M.) at the prestigious Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. She pursued a concentration in eldercare dispute resolution, and spearheaded the development of a pilot program in eldercaring coordination in Orange County courts. She continues to advocate for court-connected ADR programs as a means of serving the increasing aging population in the United States, and addressing the needs of elders and their families.

Judge Kim Hubbard is a judicial officer for Orange County Superior Court. She was appointed to the bench in 2008, and currently serves in the probate/mental health division. Judge Hubbard received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Irvine University School of Law and practiced as an attorney specializing in elder law from 1990 until 2008. Her practice focused on conservatorship (probate and LPS), probate guardianships, small estate planning, and vulnerable adult abuse. Judge Hubbard served as Coordinator for the Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) for the Orange County Council on Aging from 2003 through 2007, with a focus on community education on financial elder abuse, identity theft, and hoarding. She also served as Director of the Elder Abuse Prevention Program for WISE & Healthy Aging in Santa Monica, and as Coordinator of FAST for Los Angeles County. She continues her involvement in programs to assist the elder and mental health populations, including a task force to respond to hoarding and mental health issues among the homeless, and the Orange County pilot program on eldercaring coordination.

Workshop 12 (2:30pm – 3:45pm)
Healing thru the Law: Using the Law & ADR as Tools for Healing & Transformation

Hass Sadeghi, Esq., M.D.R. is an experienced attorney, successful mediator and transformative business consultant, who has been trained in the latest ADR, business development/management, neuroscience, quantum science, EQ, healing, human potentiality and ontological learning methodologies from the world’s foremost experts and top institutes – his CV can be found online here. Hass will guide you through experiential activities and share informative techniques in this inspiring training for attorneys, ADR leaders and visionaries.

Closing Plenary (4:00pm – 5:15pm)


India Johnson is President and CEO of the AAA/ICDR. As Chief Executive Officer, she has responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as strategic initiatives and she is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association as well.

Ms. Johnson is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR-AAA), a member of the Council, the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI), is on the board of trustees of the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy, and is a member of Arbitral Women.

Ms. Johnson has participated in numerous organizations and efforts supporting alternative dispute resolution and has assisted various state legislatures, courts and other organizations in learning about or implementing dispute resolution programs. She has made many presentations to business executives, advocates and neutrals regarding arbitration and mediation and has authored articles for both legal and business audiences. Over the years, Ms. Johnson has mediated a number of AAA arbitration cases and other cases to settlement and has also served on volunteer arbitrator panels on non-binding arbitrations of small-claims cases administered by other organizations.

Ms. Johnson earned her B.A. from the University of Miami and an M.B.A. from Georgia State University.


Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh is a law professor and Managing Director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law, where he directs the overall vision of the Institute’s global outreach, world-class training programs and academic as well as professional services. He is an international mediator with successful work in Canada, India, New Zealand besides a dozen States in USA. A regular invitee for keynote addresses, he has lectured or conducted dispute resolution trainings in more than thirty states and in Brazil, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, India, Canada, China, France, Denmark, Egypt, Spain and United States.

Currently, he is serving as the mediator for the City of Beverly Hills, for the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, among other organizations and governments. He has taught ADR subjects at Pepperdine, USC, Willamette, Hamline University in the U.S and at NLU and RGLNU in India. In 2017, he was appointed as Honorary Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi and was nominated for the Peace Award at the City of Beverly Hills for his work for the City. In 2017, he was sponsored by the Government of India as the GIAN scholar for his teachings in ADR.

Professor Singh completed his post-graduate fellowship in Dispute Resolution from Hamline University’s Dispute Resolution Institute, earned LL.M in Dispute Resolution with fellowship from University of Missouri-Columbia and has clerked with Chief Justice of India, Justice R.C. Lahoti.

Professor and NCRP Department Chair, Dr. Brian Jarrett, is a lawyer and professional mediator and arbitrator in both the United States and Canada. He also holds a Ph.D. in Sociology. His interests include Mediation, Arbitration Dispute Systems Design (DSD), Restorative Practices and Therapeutic Jurisprudence (TJ). In recent years he has originated work in Integral Mediation, which promotes interdisciplinary practices in mediation. His practice ranges from work with local communities to international organizations. In both his written work and classroom teaching, Professor Jarrett works to bridge theory and practice in the field of Dispute Resolution.

Professor Richard Peterson is Director of the Judith O. Hollinger Dispute Resolution Program and Adjunct Professor of Law. Previously at USC he served as a Lecturer in Law, teaching the ADR Law and Policy Course, and also served briefly as Senior Director for Experiential Education prior to his current appointment.

Before coming to USC last fall, Richard was on the faculty of the Pepperdine University School of Law where he served for 15 years, including as a member of the faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. While at Pepperdine, Richard also served as Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and as Director of Externships. Professor Peterson holds a BSL and a JD from Western State University, as well as an MDR and LLM in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine.

Richard has served as Chair of the Disability Law Section and the Law and Mental Disability Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) as well as a member of the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit corporations including the Regional Center of Orange County, Down Syndrome Association of Orange County and as a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Alliance of Orange County. His scholarly publications include articles on the topic of Therapeutic Jurisprudence.

Before beginning his teaching career in 2002, Richard worked as a consultant to inter-city school districts and schools across the nation, teaching dispute resolution and anger management curriculum to K-12 teachers, administrators, and probation officers as part of gang violence prevention programs. He began practicing law in 1979 and has served as a private mediator and arbitrator for more than 35 years. Richard has an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell.

Michael R. Powell is the Vice President of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Los Angeles office. He is primarily responsible for expanding the use of AAA construction, real estate and environmental ADR services in the Western Pacific and Pacific Northwest states. In this capacity, he assists the corporate, legal and public sector communities on dispute avoidance and resolution techniques, and in designing dispute resolution systems to meet their specific needs. He manages and oversees recruitment to the Panel and case administration for all large, complex cases in his 11-state region for construction, real estate and environmental disputes.

Mr. Powell is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino and is a frequent trainer, speaker and writer on the subject of alternative dispute resolution. He serves on the Board of Directors of the California Dispute Resolution Council, working with state legislators to educate and improve the quality of alternative dispute resolution, and is currently serving as its interim president.

Harold Coleman, Jr. Esq., is Senior Vice President for Mediation at the American Arbitration Association… the global dispute resolution leader (AAA), and Mediator/Executive Director for AAA…an AAA technology innovation that trains and develops mediators, promotes their mediation practices, and connects mediators with a diverse community of mediation users and ADR thought leaders worldwide. Coleman also trains new AAA arbitrators and aspiring mediators in basic/advanced arbitration case management techniques and basic/advanced mediation skills. A former multi disciplinary project manager and complex litigation attorney, Coleman has mediated and arbitrated multiplied hundreds of litigated and non-litigated disputes over a 30-year legal and ADR career. His formal education encompasses studies in civil engineering, business, real estate and law, leading to the academic degrees of Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor. He is a former member of the AAA’s international board of directors, a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators (CCA), and currently officer/director for the International Mediation Institute (IMI). He is co-chair of the American Bar Association’s 2018 Advanced Mediation & Advocacy Skills Training Institute. He is a recipient of the State Bar of California’s Distinguished Service to the Legal Profession citation and was nominated, vetted for, and profiled in the National Law Journal’s Legal Times as an ADR Champion for 2017. Most recently, Coleman was conferred the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution’s 2018 Chair’s Distinguished Service Award.

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