30 U.S.F. L. Rev. 609 (1995-1996)
Certification of Mediators in California: An Introduction

handle is hein.journals/usflr30 and id is 623 raw text is: Introduction

Certification of Mediators in California:
An Introduction
By JAY FOLBERG*
THIS SYMPOSIUM ISSUE of the University of San Francisco Law Re-
view is dedicated to certification of mediators, a topic of importance in
the development of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services and of
particular concern in California. Professional organizations nationally, in-
cluding the American Bar Association, the American Arbitration Associa-
tion, the Academy of Family Mediators, and the Society of Professionals in
Dispute Resolution have for more than a decade worked to formulate policy
proposals on ADR provider certification. Legislative activity regarding me-
diation has become intense. In California alone, as pointed out in the sym-
posium article by Professor Weckstein, 150 bills have been introduced
during the past two legislative sessions to influence the use of mediation or
regulate it.
California State Senator Newton Russell, a contributor to this Sympo-
sium, is a legislator who has attempted to comprehensively formulate ways
to encourage mediation and certify mediators. His bills have prompted con-
structive debate about the need for mediator certification, the ways in which
certification can be accomplished, and the downside of certification.
Although his latest legislative proposals have stalled in committee, the de-
bate over mediator certification will no doubt continue.
George Bernard Shaw, I have heard it said, suggested that any effort to
professionalize services is a conspiracy against the laity. Shaw's cynical
note may be relevant regarding the current effort to certify mediators. As
pointed out in the article by Robert Barrett, consumers have not come for-
ward to register significant complaints or claims of damages resulting from
noncertified mediation practices. Certification raises questions about exclu-
sion, conformity of services, costs, and misplaced reliance. Even assuming
* Dean and Professor of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law. Dean Folberg
is a mediator and long time teacher of ADR.

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