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<xTITLE>SCMA's 23rd Annual Conference</xTITLE>

SCMA's 23rd Annual Conference

by Phyllis Pollack
October 2011

PGP Mediation Blog by Phyllis G. Pollack

Phyllis  Pollack

Time sure does fly! It is that time of year again, and I can’t believe that it has already been a year since I was President of SCMA. The Southern California Mediation Association (“SCMA”) is holding its 23rd Annual Conference on November 4-5, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. Entitled “Putting Mediation to Work: Expanding Horizons, Expanding Opportunities”, the conference is different from all previous years. (Conference Flyer) The chair and president elect Barbara Brown has truly thought outside the box by creating two concurrent pre-conference Institutes scheduled for Friday afternoon (November 4, 2011). Institute 1 will explore elder mediation (“Rules, Tools and Ethics for Elder Mediation in the Age of Longevity: Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Shared Family Decision Making”) while Institute 2 delves into collaborative family law. (“The Synergy between Mediation and Collaborative Practice: How Skills, Roles and Practice Develop Work Together.) And, the presenters are world renown: Kenneth Cloke, Esq. and Marcia Haber, Esq. will discuss Elder Mediation while Forrest Mosten, Esq. and Diana Martinez, Esq. will discuss Collaborative Practice. It will definitively be an informative afternoon.

The conference itself, on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at the Strauss Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University’s Law School in Malibu, includes sessions exploring the many different aspects of mediation: international, intercultural, transformative, ombudsman, online and even conflict coaching. By the end of the day, we will have all learned how pervasive mediation can be in our everyday lives.

But, to end the day, Ms. Brown has arranged to do so on a very high note – by scheduling Father Gregory Boyle, Founder of Homeboy Industries and nationally recognized for his work, to be the keynote speaker. In further recognition of his valuable contributions, SCMA will award him with its 2011 Peacemaker of the Year Award. I am definitely looking forward to hearing Father Boyle speak: he will energize us all!

Needless to say, I am attending and hope to see you there!

. . . Just something to think about!


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.

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