ALRP Offers Mediation Services (Fall 2009)

Many clients come to ALRP for assistance with disputes that do not fit neatly into a traditional legal approach. Say your client comes to you because he is having a problem with his neighbor. One thing has led to another and now the neighbors, once congenial, are consumed with anger and can’t find a way to move beyond the escalating conflict. The stress your client is experiencing is very real, and he is concerned about his health. But there is no judge who is in a position to resolve this dispute, because there really is no legal issue. A trained mediator may help resolve the conflict by getting each party to understand the other’s perception of the situation. Sometimes a simple statement of apology, something no judge can order, is all that is needed to resolve the dispute.

ALRP is pleased to announce a new partnership with two community organizations that will provide free or sliding scale mediation services to ALRP clients. For some of our clients, zealous advocacy is what is required to protect their rights. In some situations though, the best avenue to resolve the conflict may involve facilitated mediation.

Community Boards, a non-profit that provides community-based mediation services to San Francisco residents will accept referrals for ALRP clients and waive its administrative fees. Community and neighborhood mediation services will be available for free for ALRP clients. If the dispute requires a specialized mediation service (e.g. homeowners associations, family law), Community Boards will provide sliding scale services based on the ALRP Fee Protocol.  Community Boards will also make its mediation training available to ALRP panel attorneys at a significantly discounted rate: the 40 hour mediation training, normally offered at $595, will be available for $395.

Recourse is a community based mediation non-profit organization serving the Bay Area with community and court based mediation services. Its services are available to residents of the North Bay and cost $150 per community mediation with no one turned away for lack of funds.  Recourse is offering a discount on its mediation training for ALRP panel attorneys, and will use the funds generated by the mediation training to provide its services to ALRP clients free of charge.

ALRP will be actively recruiting mediators for both programs, and working with its staff attorneys to identify instances when mediation services may be an appropriate course of action for our clients. This new partnership reflects ALRP’s commitment to collaborating with community partners to ensure the health and wellbeing of our clients.

Bill Hirsh, Esq.
ALRP Executive Director