Why use mediation?
It’s YOUR decision
The mediation process
The mediators are volunteers who have been professionally trained to help parties resolve their issues. Each has successfully completed a 40-hour training that includes advanced listening, mediation, communication, negotiation, facilitation, and conciliation skills. In addition, mediators participate in continuing education programs on an ongoing basis.
Telephone conciliation may be used if either of the parties is interested in settling a dispute but is uncomfortable working with the other party face to face. The parties are not communicating directly with one another in this process. Instead, a mediator works individually with each of the parties over the phone to assist them in reaching agreement to resolve their dispute. The program principles of confidentiality and neutrality are applied just as if it were a mediation.
Examples of mediation cases
Here are some examples of mediation cases handled by PAMP:
How does a typical case proceed?
Case is opened and assigned. The requesting party contacts the PAMP case manager to discuss their dispute and inquire about mediation. The case manager provides information and counseling as needed, and determines whether the case is a good candidate for mediation. The case manager then emails the panel of mediators asking for a volunteer to develop the case. Mediators who are available respond by email within 24 hours, and the case manager then assigns the case to one of the volunteer mediators to develop.
Case is developed. The assigned mediator contacts the parties by phone to understand the nature of the dispute and to discuss the benefits of mediation with both parties. The goal of case development is not simply to persuade the parties to mediate, but rather to lay the foundation for the parties to successfully participate in mediation. This process can require multiple conversations with both parties before a mediation date can be scheduled (at the convenience of both parties). The case manager provides administrative and counseling support throughout the process.
Co-mediator is assigned and case is mediated. Once a date and time for the mediation is determined, the case manager emails the panel of mediators asking for a co-mediator. (PAMP uses a co-mediation model for all of its mediation sessions.) Mediators who are available respond by email within 24 hours, and the case manager then assigns a co-mediator. The case is then mediated at the pre-determined date and time.
Agreements are recorded and case is closed. If the parties come to an agreement during the mediation session, the mediator who developed the case will forward the signed agreement to the case manager who will record it and close out the case.
When and where do mediations take place?
Mediations are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the parties. Mediations can be scheduled for mornings, afternoons, evenings, and occasionally weekends. Mediations are held at neutral community meeting rooms (Cubberley Community Center, Lucie Stern Community Center, Palo Alto Libraries, etc.) or via Zoom video conference. They typically run three hours in length. The PAMP case manager is responsible for arranging the logistics (such as meeting location or Zoom link) once a mediation time has been agreed upon.
How to open a case
The first step is to call PAMP at 650-856-4062. The PAMP case manager will ask you questions and explain your dispute resolution options. If the case manager determines that the conflict is suitable for mediation, a case will be opened. A communication will be sent to both parties and a volunteer mediator will be assigned to the case. The mediator then calls both parties, discusses the mediation request, and determines if the second party is willing to participate in mediation.