Neighborhood Mediation Program | The Basics of Mediation Training

Neighborhood Mediation Program

Who are the Community Boards mediators?

Our mediators are trained and highly qualified volunteer Community Mediators, who donate their time and skills to help people like yourself find solutions to shared problems.

How long does it take to schedule a mediation?

It can take about 10-15 business days from opening a case to the actual mediation.

How long are the mediations?

We ask people to schedule three hours for their mediation.

Where are the mediations held?

Most mediations are held at the Community Boards office in Opera Plaza, 601 Van Ness Avenue, though we can make special arrangements on an as-needed basis. During COVID-19 restrictions, sessions are held online, via Zoom.

How much does a mediation cost?

We charge a $45-$100 case opening fee for our neighborhood mediations, which is sliding scale or waived if you are unable to pay. The mediation itself is free-of-charge.  We do ask for donations so we can continue to help others.

What information do you need about the other party?

We will ask for as much contact information as you have about the other person(s):  name, mailing address, telephone number, email. The more contact information we have, the easier and faster it is to schedule your mediation.

Are the mediations confidential?

California law provides for confidentiality in the mediation process with regard to legal proceedings, with some exceptions.  Parties to the mediation can also agree to additional matters they wish to remain confidential or private.

Can I bring someone with me? Do I need a lawyer?

Since our mediations are not legal proceedings, there is no need for evidence, testimony, witnesses or lawyers. You can bring someone with you, as long as all parties agree to it before the mediation.

I know the other person would never want to mediate. What can Community Boards do?

We ask people to be open-minded and not assume the other person is unwilling to mediate without first being invited.  Remember, this is a voluntary process. We have a good success rate bringing people together, even in situations with a lot of anger and hostility.  We work hard to make all mediations safe and respectful.

What if I mediate and things don’t work out later, can I still take legal action?

You lose no legal rights by attempting mediation, or if the terms in your final agreement are not fulfilled by the other party. You can pursue legal remedies. You may also try to mediate the problem a second time with Community Boards.

The Basics of Mediation Training

What is unique about the Community Boards’ The Basics of Mediation training?
Participants learn how to mediate both as a team with two other mediators and as individuals. In addition, the training is updated regularly to stay topical. These updates are informed by the types of actual conflicts mediated through our Mediation Program. During the training, participants have the opportunity to practice their skills and receive one-on-one coaching and feedback from certified mediators.

What does your 40-hour certificate provide? Do I need a 40-hour certificate?
The majority of mediation trainings, including ours, typically run for 40 hours. This 40-hour standard arose from of California Superior Court mediation programs that are county based. Most require a 40-hour certificate as one of their criteria for joining their mediation panels. Regardless, a 40 hour course provides excellent readiness to begin mediation both in personal and professional contexts.

Who attends your training?
The Basics is open to the general public and includes people from all walks of life. We work hard to include a robust and well-rounded exchange of perspectives, knowledge, and lived experiences. This diversity really enhances everyone’s training experiences.

If I want to become a professional mediator as a new career; what should I consider?
There a multiple issues to consider in becoming a professional mediator.

1) Due to Northern California being a progressive area, the market for mediators can be quite competitive for those wanting to develop a private practice. Mediation is also a non-regulated industry, so there is no standard that is enforced by a governing body. It is very challenging to charge fees that will adequately cover all your expenses.

2) Disputes regarding monetary, contractual, or property issues are usually mediated by attorneys or judges with the general public hesitant to pay much for mediation. Today many of these disputes are arbitrated rather than mediated.

3) However, there are some potential opportunities for a profitable mediation practice. Attorneys may include mediation as part of their practices, the most common being in family and workplace law. Few attorneys mediate full time, most supplement their practices with doing legal work and training in addition to mediation.

4) Very few non-attorneys have full-time businesses in mediation. Most mediation practitioners include mediation as an addition to their current profession services in HR, office management, marriage and family therapy, facilitation, organizational development, and similar small/private businesses.