Charles B. Parselle

Charles B. Parselle

Admitted to practice law in California and England, Charles Parselle is a founding partner of Centers for Excellence in Dispute Resolution - CEDRS.COM - and a sought-after ADR professional. An experienced litigator, he enjoys the confidence of both plaintiff and defense bars as a gifted facilitator of dispute resolution. He obtained his law degree from Oxford University. He has been in law practice in California since 1983. He writes and speaks frequently on dispute resolution, and teaches mediation internationally for the Institute of Conflict Management. He has also served as general counsel to a multi-national organization, and as general counsel to an Australian company specializing in the sale of high-tech security equipment, and as general counsel to an entertainment company in Los Angeles, California, concentrating on intellectual property and employment issues. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar of England and Wales, the Federal District Court mediation panel for the southern district of California, the 2nd District Appellate Court Mediation panel, Beverly Hills Bar Association, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Southern California Mediation Association, British American Bar Association. Born in southern Africa, brought up in England, educated in Australia and U.K., resident of California, he brings an international perspective to the ADR process.

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Articles and Video:

In Defense Of Conflict (08/09/10)
I wonder if one can really regard civil lawsuits as being about conflict at all, or mediating them as being about bringing peace into the room. It seems to me that lawsuits are essentially about adjusting interests, mostly financial interests. In mediating litigated cases we help shift money around the table, though clearly litigants often feel relief, especially if they win.

From Charles Parselle (09/05/07)
To have an idea is one thing; ideas proliferate like leaves in the wind. To act on an idea is quite another thing. Then there's the matter of getting established, which is rare indeed. This is what has accomplished. It has become the gold standard. That doesn't just happen; it requires vision, management skills and persistent work. John Ford is a wonderful editor; he knows how to hold a trembling hand. Jim Melamed has developed an institution that has become integral to the mediation landscape. What they have achieved is inclusion in the broadest sense; new writers are constantly featured, old writers are allowed to develop, and the reading public is everyone who wants to participate in that way. Congratulations on the 200th. issue and I hope to contribute to the 500th.

What Is To Be Done? (08/06/07)
The current situation in Los Angeles County is that mediators subsidize court mediations by collectively donating the first four hours or more, including briefs and administrative time, of more than 30,000 mediations a year, with just a handful on behalf of indigents or fee waiver cases. How mediators feel about this? Nearly all would prefer normality. Normality in our society is that professionals in private practice set their own fees in a competitive environment, and ‘pro bono’ is generally undertaken for the truly needy.

Necessary Conflicts (07/23/07)
Why does conflict persist? This is like asking: ‘Where does love go?’ It touches the human condition near the core, a place where great thinkers give gloomy answers. ‘Life is suffering,’ is the first noble truth of Buddha, who lived about the same time as Heraclitus (ca. 500 BCE): ‘War is the father and ruler of all things.’ St. Matthew at 24:6 (ca. 100 CE) agrees: ‘Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars’ and Hobbes (1651) sums up: ‘The life of man - solitary, poor, nasty, brutal and short.’ Personal and historical experience tells us that conflict does indeed persist.

The Octave Of Primary Emotions (05/28/07)
Emotion is not something to be concerned about. Indeed, in this sense of the word, concern is itself an emotion; it is a low intensity expression of fear. Mediators are sometimes taught that emotion is preferably avoided in mediation, or at best to be ‘handled’ prior to getting to the job at hand; in this respect, mediation has come to mirror the legal system, which goes to considerable lengths to keep emotional expression out of court rooms and law offices. Many of the popular books on the subject barely discuss the emotions at all; instead, they focus on methods to ‘deal with’ emotions should they intrude

No Way Out: Negotiation And The Prisoner's Dilemma (04/02/07)
The prisoner's dilemma is often expressed as a game played on a computer but we see the ramifications of the prisoner's dilemma in all aspects of living in society. The essential question asked by the prisoner's dilemma: Can people be naturally cooperative, or do our individual genes require a selfish response to life situations? This question is of interest to mediators, as variations of it are played out in every mediation.

AACCRS: The Six Levers Of Influence (02/19/07)
The book to read on this subject is Cialdini’s “Principles of Persuasion.” It identifies six principles of persuasion: Affinity (liking), Authority, Consensus, Consistency, Reciprocity and Scarcity.

Mediator As International Peacemaker? (12/11/06)
Language is a distinction between humans and animals; we are also far more violent. Animals don’t misunderstand each other as much as we do. If, as seems likely, a connection exists between language and violence, then considerations of language have a place in the field of conflict resolution.

Negotiating with Oneself: Ego, Id and Superego (11/27/06)
We observe during mediation that each party is indeed negotiating with herself or himself, inching towards reality. The dynamics require sustained handling, for although the mediator is the ‘ego’ of the parties’ dispute, mediating what to her is an objective drama, she also has a superego of her own proffering advice and dispensing blame, shame and regret, and her own id waiting in the shadows with a wrecking ball. It may not be rocket science, but it does take quite a bit of doing

The Six R’s For Changing Minds And Overcoming Resistance (09/04/06)
This article borrows from Howard Gardner’s book, “Changing Minds” (2004). In order to get people in conflict to cooperate or collaborate sufficiently to settle or resolve their differences, and perhaps achieve reconciliation, it is necessary that they change their minds.

Book Review: How to Make Money as a Mediator by Jeff Krivis (09/04/06)
So, how does one make money as a mediator? To answer this question, Krivis has turned to consider the habits of 30 highly successful people, comprising a Who’s Who of top mediators from Canada to New Zealand and across the United States, all of whom are liberally quoted in the book.

L.A.’S Policy Of Free Mediation Benefits Everybody But Mediator (07/24/06)
Los Angeles mediators personally pay for 97% of court mediations, giving away thousands of hours and millions in fees each year, yet overwhelmingly mediators would rather be paid for their professional services.

The Use And Abuse Of Deception (07/03/06)
Deception is common human relationships. Deception is common in negotiation. Most human relationships are conducted by way of negotiation.

The Satisfactions Of Litigation (05/15/06)
Mediators need to know something about litigation. When we talk about ADR – alternative dispute resolution – we are talking about alternatives to litigation. Litigation is partly what drives mediation. It is also, partly, the competition. Litigation is attractive to people. We need to know why litigation is so attractive. What does litigation offer people?

Negotiation: The Tension Between Doubt And Certainty (04/17/06)
Every mediated negotiation oscillates between doubt and certainty. Parties seek certainty even though very often they are besieged by doubts. People entering negotiations experience apprehension, which is another word for fear, though fear expressed at a low level of intensity. The reason they have come to a mediator is because they did not feel able to achieve a negotiated result on their own.

The Nature Of Conflict (01/09/06)
This article presents an analysis of conflict in terms of past and future, wounds and desires, mind and matter.

Closure (12/12/05)
Closure represents the triumph of reality over illusion, recognition that things are the way they are, not the way we wish them to be. There is a great deal of time and stress, and waste of energy and resources, involved in disputes, so that the benefit the parties receive in the form of “getting their lives back” is a very important consideration.

Analytical/Intuitive Thinking (11/07/05)
This article discusses the different strengths and weaknesses of analytical and intuitive thinking, which combined may be called holistic thinking. Because thinking is in its nature invisible and abstract, the article uses an analogy by way of representation: the anatomy of the cornea.

Negotiations Within Negotiation (10/03/05)
If only two persons attend a mediation and they are both have authority to settle, then only three negotiations take place. They are between (1) person 1 and person 2, (2) person 1 and mediator, (3) person 2 and mediator. The dynamics of this are easy to manage. More commonly, at least four persons attend. t is easy to draw a cat’s cradle to demonstrate the complex dynamics that exist in the above simple mediation, with only two parties each represented by an attorney.

The Heart As An Organ Of Perception (07/04/05)
Does a mediator need a heart? Is it possible to cultivate the heart as an organ of perception and understanding? I suggest it is not only possible, but also absolutely necessary.

Gresham's Law: The Mediation Paradox (03/22/05)
Gresham’s Law states that bad money drives out good. The same principle can be applied to labor. Slavery drives out low wage labor. Low wage labor drives out high wage labor. It applies to mediators also. In southern California, a large majority of mediators work pro bono. The question is whether the continuing prevalence of pro bono mediation will continue to act as a deterrent to the development of mediation as a specialty profession.

Give War A Chance (02/14/05)
Reading two excellent articles in Mediate.Com, Douglas Noll’s “Talking it out is the Path to Peace,” and Dr. Deri Joy Ronis’ “Creating a Culture of Peace,” prompted the thought that perhaps as mediators, we may sometimes have no choice but recognize the place of conflict in the scheme of things, and admit that there are times when there is no option but to “give war a chance.”

Racehorses And Lawsuits (05/24/04)
The hardest things to evaluate accurately are racehorses and lawsuits. But lawsuits are harder. And, in the mediation of a lawsuit, the parties must perform the considerable intellectual feat of negotiating. That is why it is so fascinating.