Mediation is a voluntary and non-binding negotiation process, known as the quintessential non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution. During mediation, an impartial neutral -- the Mediator -- assists two or more parties in resolving a dispute, often by acting as an intermediary or "go-between" to facilitate communication between them. The Mediator assists the parties in focusing on the real issues in dispute and generates proposals for resolution that meet the interests and needs of all relevant parties, with the goal being that the parties are able to resolve their conflict and find a mutually agreeable business solution to their dispute.

A hybrid of mediation and arbitration, med-arb is designed for parties hoping to reach a mutually-acceptable settlement with the help of a neutral hearing officer, but who agree to be bound by the neutral's decision should they be unsuccessful in reaching a settlement. The hearing officer begins the process as traditional mediation. If settlement is not achieved at this first stage, the parties proceed to present any remaining issues to the mediator-turned-arbitrator, who will render a binding final decision that resolves those remaining issues after evidence and argument are presented by all parties.

In arbitration, parties agree to submit their dispute(s) to a neutral third party, known as an Arbitrator. Most often, the parties agree to arbitration by signing a pre- or post-dispute arbitration agreement. The Arbitrator may oversee pre-hearing proceedings between the parties as the parties prepare their case. The parties then present arguments and evidence to the Arbitrator in an evidentiary hearing. After the evidentiary hearing, the Arbitrator renders a final and binding decision known as an "award." The parties may mutually agree to certain rules and procedures to govern the proceedings, such as JW's Commercial Arbitration Rules for commercial, non-consumer matters or the rules of any other reputable provider.

Non-binding and mock arbitrations are types of arbitrations where the Arbitrator makes a determination regarding the rights of the parties, but the determination is non-binding on those parties and not enforceable in a court of law. Any "award" rendered is an advisory opinion of the Arbitrator's views of the respective merits of the parties' case. In non-binding arbitration, both parties participate, and may agree to this format in conjunction with attempts to reach a negotiated settlement. In mock arbitration, sometimes only one party will participate, and will engage in this proceeding in advance of binding arbitration. Doing so allows the party to test its theories and arguments relating to a dispute with another jurist before the evidentiary hearing in its binding arbitration takes place.

Baseball arbitration and high-low arbitration are variations on binding arbitration proceedings. For each of them, the parties agree amongst themselves to certain parameters affecting the value of the award that the Arbitrator can ultimately render. In baseball arbitration, the parties have exchanged last best offers and demands with one another. When the Arbitrator renders an award, the figure for the offer from the party that is mathematically closest to the Arbitrator's award becomes the final number for the binding award. The parties may choose whether to make the Arbitrator aware of their competing offers (known as "Day" baseball arbitration), or they can keep their offers confidential from the Arbitrator until after the award is rendered (known as "Night" baseball arbitration). In high-low arbitration, the parties agree to high and low figures to bracket the award. If the decision falls outside the brackets, each bracket is the minimum or maximum ultimately awarded. If the decision falls between the brackets, unlike baseball arbitration, the value of the Arbitrator's award remains as-is.
Private Judging

Courts are routinely turning to judicial references -- including Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 638 "referees" and Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 639 "discovery referees" in the California courts, and Fed. R. Civ. P. 53 "special masters" in the federal courts -- to handle aspects of parties' disputes in court litigation. The appointed judicial reference assists the overburdened court by taking the time to actively and closely manage a case according to the scope of his or her appointment. Often, this includes coordinating discovery and resolving discovery disputes between the parties, including assisting in the management of e-discovery, providing recommendations regarding discovery motions, and otherwise attempting to facilitate informal resolution of the parties' disputes. Parties interested in enlisting the services of a judicial reference in their case are encouraged to agree to a mutually acceptable neutral to serve in the role. If they cannot agree, the court will often request that the parties submit a list of names so that the court can assist in the selection process.

Private Judges, also known as Temporary Judges or Judges Pro Tem, are neutral hearing officers, often retired judges, that parties agree to have oversee a private trial between them. In California, the parties have the right to agree to a private judge under Article VI, Section 21 of the California Constitution, where any judgment rendered by the temporary judge will be entered in the court as if the trial were conducted there, making it appealable under the same grounds as a judgment rendered in court.

Neutral evaluation is a useful tool that can be employed at any point in the life of a case to obtain an impartial assessment of a part's strengths and weaknesses before further time and resources are invested. It can include review of arguments/pleadings relevant to possible preliminary injunction motions; class certification motions or opposition; motions for summary judgment or summary adjudication; post-trial motions; assessment of evidence; evaluation of the strength of legal positions; or analysis of possible outcomes. It can also include mock arguments and mock arbitrations.
Appellate Services

Appellate consultation is a non-binding, confidential process that can be used in many ways, with one or more parties participating. Neutrals experienced in appellate litigation can analyze results in the trial court to assess whether an appeal should be filed and what its chances of success will be, based on the nature of the issues presented and the standard of review that will apply. They can similarly evaluate the likelihood that the court will review a writ petition.

After appellate briefs have been submitted to the court, our neutrals are also available to assist the parties as they evaluate what issues should be addressed at appellate oral argument. This can include conducting a mock argument. The input of a neutral experienced in appellate procedures can suggest possibilities for sharpening arguments, crafting responses to unanticipated questions, and clarifying the issues to be raised. For skilled advocates, consulting with a neutral can identify approaches different from those that were employed in the lower court.

After a verdict has been reached at the trial court level, parties can pursue mediation with an experienced appellate expert to limit expenses, avoid an appeal, and preserve business relationships. Mediation can also be effective after briefing is complete but before argument and between oral argument and the issuance of the court's opinion. Having a mediator analyze potential outcomes on appeal allows the parties to reconsider the positions they took in the trial court and evaluate the potential for success on appeal.
Virtual ADR

We provide a comprehensive range of virtual ADR proceedings, ensuring successful, fair, and confidential outcomes. Our skilled technology team is equipped to assist with various platforms such as Zoom, MS Teams, Blue Jeans, WebEx, and more.
For more information please view Judicate West's Best Practices for Virtual Mediation and Judicate West's Virtual Arbitration Guidelines, available on the Arbitration and Private Judging Resources page under the Rules & Clauses tab.

We take pride in the friendliness, professionalism, and expertise of our technology team. Our dedicated team members are here to provide you with any assistance you may need. Whether you require guidance or would like to schedule a connectivity test session, we encourage you to submit a request, and our tech team will be more than happy to help you. Our help desk is available until 8 pm, ensuring that support is readily accessible.

A MyJW account is available for attorneys and insurance claims professionals participating in matters handled by Judicate West. Your MyJW account gives you access to the premium online JW experience with some really nice tools to help you keep track of your cases with Judicate West - including the easy Click to Join feature on your MyJW homepage the day of your virtual session. Read more about the benefits of a MyJW account and register here.

We provide complimentary lunches and offer various snacks and refreshments for all in-person cases. We offer a $50 foodservice credit per party for all virtual sessions. This credit will be active on the day of your session, available between 9:00 am to 7:00 pm PT.
Special Programs

Jury Mediation is a unique and innovative focus group or mock trial jury research forum. It's a proven and advanced resolution process that offers litigants invaluable insights into a jury's reaction to a legal issue or other challenging impasse. By utilizing this approach, parties gain a deeper understanding of trial risks and the potential value of their case in the eyes of a jury. This streamlined approach ensures continuous progress and maintains the momentum toward resolution.

If you want to assess the impact of key witnesses on the case and analyze how jurors respond to their behavior, mock trials can be an effective option. Mock trials are more extensive than focus groups and can be conducted in various formats. Utilizing a customized research questionnaire accomplishes several practical objectives, such as evaluating credibility and gaining insight into the perceptions of attorneys and witnesses.

For further details, please contact Rosemarie Chiuisano Drohan at (310) 442-2100.

Judicate West is an approved provider of MCLE credit with the California State Bar. Our neutrals and marketing team are available to offer free seminars, either virtually or in-person at your or our offices, on a variety of dispute resolution topics. We also often host other MCLE programs to the legal community at large on a vast array of legal issues, including specialty areas qualifying for legal, competence, or elimination of bias MCLE credits. Visit the Newsroom tab of our website for more information.

Judicate West's "Mediation Day" is one of the most efficient, economic, and effective ways for insurance companies to resolve claims through private dispute resolution.

For over 25 years, our Mediation Day program has proven very successful in closing files for national and regional insurance companies, self-insureds, TPAs, and law firms while evolving with the industry and technology. These multi-file days are non-binding mediations and are typically scheduled for a minimum of 1.5 hours each for cases valued under $100,000 (high value cases may be set for additional time). Up to 6 files can be resolved in one day.

Additional Benefits Include

  • Six conveniently located neutral venues designed for comfort and productivity
  • An onsite Client Experience Specialist to greet you and your opposition, assist with any needs and ensure everyone is comfortable with plenty Of food and refreshments.
  • Insight on appropriate results-oriented mediators who excel in this program
  • All administration including convening, scheduling, billing, and confirming
  • Competitive fee structure to minimize cost per file
  • Reporting on the cases scheduled, results, and tracking the success of the program
  • The option to host or send one representative to handle all matters eliminating down time and travel
  • No need to pay all fees; our Senior Case Management Team are trained experts in seeking financial contributions from all parties
  • Virtual options available