Erica Becks

Erica Becks Erica Becks is the Principal at Diversified Mediation a San Francisco Bay Area company which offers mediation, facilitation, consulting and training services.

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Articles and Video:

Adoption Mediation (12/06/10)
Individuals all around the world choose to adopt children for various reasons. For those who have been unable to conceive on their own, it is a wonderful opportunity to realize their dream of becoming a parent. For others, there may be a desire to bring hope and love to a child who may otherwise who have grown up in a less than ideal environment. Many adoptive parents undergo the adoption process with ease and are able to raise their children as planned. However, for those who choose to partake in what is called “Open Adoption” the experience isn’t always as smooth.

Intent To Settle (11/01/10)
This past week I mediated a landlord-tenant dispute. On paper, the issue seemed pretty straight forward, but in my experience, very few mediations are as simple as they appear. And this one was no exception.

Top 4 Reasons People Avoid Mediation, And How To Overcome Them (10/04/10)
The idea of participating in mediation can seem a daunting undertaking for many. There are many barriers that people erect in their minds, which prevent them from seeking out mediation. With the proper information, however, anyone can overcome these obstacles to benefit from this truly valuable resource. And on that note, here are the top four reasons people avoid mediation:

Why Biased Mediators Are Essential In Child Custody Disputes (07/05/10)
Let’s face it; most humans are hard-wired to be somewhat self-interested. In many ways, self-interest is a survival mechanism, which ensures that our needs are met first. However, the purpose of this article is not to decide whether we as humans should or should not be self-interested. What I would like to explore, is what happens when self-interest begins to hijack the child custody mediation process?

Recession Mediation 101: How To “Settle For Less” (06/07/10)
Compromise. It’s a term that most mediators throw around quite a bit. But, do we really want parties to ‘compromise’ in order to reach settlement? I say no. Why is that? Because compromise inevitably means that one and/or both parties leave feeling like they had to give up something. The way I feel about compromise in mediation is akin to how I feel about my clients ’compromising’ their values around money when it comes to paying a professional to help them settle their divorce. Divorce is a difficult and costly process. Obviously. So why, as a mediator, would you want your clients to ‘compromise’ and pay for something because they believe that they have no other option, and walk away feeling somewhat cheated? Specifically, who of you would want to pay Nordstrom’s prices, when you can receive the same services at Target prices, instead?

How To Settle Your Own Divorce: And Never Set Foot Inside Of A Courthouse (04/26/10)
Yes, you read right. Clients are often astounded when I tell them that 1) arranging their own divorce is possible and 2) is a relatively straightforward process. If you or someone you know is looking to save themselves the time and heartache of litigating a divorce, please read on.

Signs That Your Client May Have A High Conflict Personality (04/19/10)
People with High Conflict Personalities are often the most difficult to diagnose, and certainly to manage. That said, wouldn’t it be nice to figure out if your future client has a high conflict personality, BEFORE they become your client? Lucky for you, there are certain red flags that anyone can take note of, which are commonplace among this bunch.

The True Cost Of A Divorce in California (03/29/10)
Whether fueled by desperation, fear or just plain old vengeance, too many well-intentioned (okay maybe not so well-intentioned) people end up in a litigated divorce. And while I could spend the next year discussing the benefits of mediation over litigation, I won't. I'll just give you the numbers. And for those of you with a rudimentary knowledge of arithmetic, the numbers should speak for themselves. So without further ado:

The Other Party Refuses To Mediate- Now What? (03/08/10)
I wish I could say that this is a rare phenomenon, but sadly, it is quite commonplace. There are still several options that anyone can choose from, to settle their dispute outside of court and avoid litigation.

Dealing With A Difficult Mediator: Part II: A Guide for Co-Mediators (03/01/10)
Difficult mediators are not only a source of frustration for their clients, but also their co-mediators. With this in mind, I decided to outline a few steps that any mediator can take to help them 1) manage their co-mediator; 2) restore balance back into the process; and 3) maintain composure when faced with a particularly challenging co-mediator.

Dealing With A Difficult Mediator: Part I (02/15/10)
When determining the qualifications of a 'good' mediator, most of us in the ADR field like to focus on the mediator's skill in bringing together the parties, uncovering their underlying interests, overcoming impasse, their settlement rate, etc. But what about the mediator's personality? I have had the great fortune of mediating with some very brilliant and talented mediators. Yet no matter how gifted the mediator, a destructive or dysfunctional personality often overshadows their 'illustrious' mediating abilities.

Managing High Conflict People During Time Sensitive Mediations? (02/01/10)
This weekend, I had the great privilege and honor to facilitate a workshop on the subject of Managing High Conflict Personalities in Mediation. There were a few workshop participants who voiced some concerns about the strategies we discussed. These were Attorneys who mediated Unlawful Detainer and Civil Harassment cases in a Court setting. They believed that, while the content was informative and relevant, they struggled with the question of whether or not there was an effective strategy for managing High Conflict People during short term mediations (Mediation sessions which had a duration period of about 45 minutes or less).

Why Type Of ADR Is Best For You? (01/18/10)
One of the most common questions I am asked by potential clients is regarding the best way to resolve their dispute outside of court.

Mediation For Small Business Disputes (01/11/10)
Frequently, a SBO (Small Business Owner) approaches me with a question about a debt collection or contract dispute. In cases where there is significant financial and/or legal considerations, I refer them to attorneys. However, many of these small business owners and entrepreneurs simply do not have the capital to retain an attorney. So what are their other options?