Conference Details and Workshop Descriptions

Workshop 1
What Makes a Great Mediator?

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Wendy Kramer, Esq.


Past SCMA President and co-founder of the SCMA’s Mentorship Program, Wendy W. Kramer, Esq. will examine the topic from a market perspective. Simply stated, what factors are common to all great mediators that cause them to be rehired time and time again? Are great mediator traits gifts or are they teachable/learnable? Wendy strongly believes that great mediator qualities can be learned and will share her insights on what you can do to enhance your skills and establish yourself in the competitive Los Angeles Mediation Marketplace. Wendy has mediated and arbitrated commercial disputes full time since 2004 and currently serves on the panel neutrals of ADR Services, Inc. Prior to mediation, she litigated cases in Southern California for nearly 20 years. Wendy is the current chair of the International Academy of Mediation’s Mentorship Program (IAM) and previously served on the Board of Directors of both SCMA and the IAM.

Wendy Kramer, Esq.

Workshop 2
Why is Trust So Important in the Mediation Process?

  • Location: TBD
  • Speakers: Terri Breer, Esq. and Carina Tautu, MSc


Attorney Mediator Terri Breer, Esq., with 25 years of divorce mediation experience and Carina Tautu, dispute system design specialist with an MSc in Neuroscience, will answer this question in a workshop that includes valuable instruction and techniques designed to establish, build and maintain trust throughout the mediation process. Workshop participants will learn how to use trust to enroll clients in the mediation process, build a relationship of trust between the parties and the mediator, restore trust if it is eroded, and ultimately achieve successful settlement resolutions. The workshop will cover the following: 1) An overview of the Bioscience of trust (what is the latest research); 2) Establishing Trust on a cultural and societal level (can I trust the mediation process? 3) Establishing trust for the particular mediator 4) Decision making and trust (am I capable of making wise decisions, self-trust); 5) what happens when trust erodes and how can it be reestablished.

Terri Breer, Esq.

Carina Rosanna Tautu, MSc

Workshop 3
Educating the Peacemakers of Tomorrow: The Benefits of Peer Mediation in K-12 Education

  • Location: TBD
  • Speakers: Sally Patchen, Cynthia Sanchez, Heather Schon, and Sarai Benitez
  • Moderator: Marvin Whistler


Schools and educators face a number of challenges in creating a safe space for students to learn and grow. Violence in schools, disciplinary issues, and bullying (both on and offline) are just a few of those challenges. Peer Mediation programs teach students mediation techniques and life skills to resolve these issues. Studies have shown that peer mediation programs in conjunction with restorative justice circles have a direct and positive impact on schools, resulting in a reduction of absences, disciplinary referrals, and suspensions. Beyond that, we have seen that the skills the student mediators learn in school have a tremendous impact on every aspect of their lives, even as they leave the K-12 environment and enter college and the job market. Kids Managing Conflict, the charitable arm of the Southern California Mediation Association, presents a panel of peer mediation coordinators as well as a former peer mediator and current college student to discuss the benefits of peer mediation programs within the school and its lasting effects after high school.

Sally Patchen

Heather Schon, HS Counselor

Sarai Benitez, Student

Cynthia Sanchez, Executive Director - APADRC

Marvin Whistler

Workshop 4
Becoming A Certified Professional Mediator

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Jason Harper, Esq.


SCMA’s sister organization, the Mediation Certification Consortium of California (MC3), is now opening to certify mediators based upon standards that reflect those utilized in many professions and task force reports generated by both the American Bar Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Like many other initial gateways into other professions, MC3’s “gold” standard is based upon the mediator’s education, experience with mediations, professional activity, and a background check, all of which combine to demonstrate credentials that a consumer might rely upon before choosing a mediator.

This workshop will discuss the need for mediator certification and walk participants through the application process. If mediators want to take their practice to the next level, MC3 is providing an opportunity to show the public that the mediator *is* next level.

Jason Harper, Esq.

Workshop 5
The Future is On-line and You Can Be Too!

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Susan Guthrie, Esq.


As the internet has become an integral part of our everyday lives, clients are increasingly looking for access to mediation services online. Today, most people use video conferencing at work and stay in touch with friends and family around the world via FaceTime, so it is not surprising that they want the same convenience in dealing with their disputes. In addition, mediators themselves benefit from conducting mediations online. A mediator can exponentially expand their client base and reduce their overhead with an online platform. This workshop will introduce mediators to the basic functionality of conducting an online mediation, outline best practices and ethical considerations applicable to the online dispute resolution process and review tips and pointers for conducting a superior client experience while mediating via video or web-conferencing.

Susan Guthrie, Esq.

Workshop 6
Credibility Determinations For Mediators in the #MeToo Era

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Esq.


Workplace Meditations frequently involve the proverbial “he said, she said” scenario – where only the parties know what transpired, and provide different factual accounts. When this happens, mediators can point out to the parties how jurors will assess their credibility. If done correctly, credibility assessments can provide a helpful tool to mediators in making important determinations between parties. This workshop discusses the art of mastering the credibility analysis, with an in-depth discussion of factors such as direct and indirect corroboration, plausibility, motives, demeanor, reputation, past conduct, material omissions, and more.

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Esq.

Workshop 7
A Framework for Effective Mediator Management of Strong Negative Emotions Encountered in the Process

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Professor Richard Peterson


This workshop presents a framework for mediators to diagnosis and ease emotional barriers that impede productive negotiation between disputing parties. It is based upon the book authored by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro, entitled, “Beyond Reason, Using Emotions as You Negotiate” first published by the Harvard Negotiation Project in 2005. Rather than focus on the overwhelming number of emotions implicated in a dispute, Fisher and Shapiro focus attention on five core concerns that generate the emotions we must deal with. “The power of the core concerns comes from the fact that they can be used as both a lens to understand the emotional experience of each party, and as a lever to stimulate positive emotions in yourself and in others.” Thus, by addressing the core concerns of participants, mediators are able to address strong emotions, “…without getting overwhelmed by them.”

During this workshop, participants will be introduced to the five core concerns: appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status, and role, as well as case study examples of how the core concerns have been utilized by the workshop facilitator in actual disputes/mediations, and in dispute resolution courses, for more than ten years. It is expected that participants will leave the workshop with a fundamental understanding of how the core concerns may be effectively used as a “lens” and a “lever” in mediation practice, and thereby develop a foundation for deeper study and practice in utilizing this framework for themselves.

Professor Richard Peterson

Workshop 9
21st Century Mediation: Today’s Tests, Tradition’s Tools, Tomorrow’s Triumphs!

  • Location: TBD
  • Speakers: Jeff Kirchaven, Esq. and Mitch Tarighati, Esq.


Join Mitch Tarighati and 2005 SCMA President Jeff Kichaven in a no-holds-barred conversation about how mediation can – and must – evolve to meet the challenges of today’s ever-changing commercial environment, while staying true to our deepest values of neutrality and self-determination.

Jeff Kichaven, Esq.

Mitch Tarighati, Esq.

Workshop 10
Exploration of Niche Markets in Mediation

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Liz Paris, Esq.
  • Moderator: Richard Erhard


Not sure what area or market you want to pursue for your niche? Maybe you are thinking of broadening or changing your current customer base but are not sure what that would be or how to do it? Moderator Richard Erhard, whose own niche is educational disputes, will lead a panel of mediators that ‘found their niche’ as they share the lessons they learned along their journey. Liz Paris, Esq., found her niche in an exploding area of conducting workplace and Title IX campus investigations.

Liz Paris

Richard Erhard

Workshop 11
The Operational Side of Running a Mediation Practice - Tips and Lessons Learned

  • Location: TBD
  • Speaker: Mark Lemke, Esq.



Mark Lemke, Esq.

Ready to Take Your Practice to a New Level?