Sunday, March 1, 2015



Lee Jay Berman, a mediator, president of the American Institute of Mediation and host of the syndicated weekly radio talk show “Talk It Over,” will be the keynote speaker at a daylong conference in Bakersfield that will highlight the benefits of mediation.

The conference, which will be held on Wednesday, March 17, in the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Building, is being presented by the Kern County Superior Court and Kern County Bar Association, in conjunction with the American Institute of Mediation.

The event is part of Mediation Week, which was established by the California Judicial Council to be held annually the third week of March.

“Mediation programs offer the public an important alternative to resolving disputes outside the traditional adjudication system,” explained Chief Justice Ronald M. George, chairman of the Judicial Council, when the observation was established last year. “Mediation Week is an opportune occasion to educate the public about the availability and benefits of mediation programs, and to recognize the people who make those programs successful.”

California courts operate and collaborate with mediation programs to help resolve many types of cases, including family law, juvenile dependency and delinquency, criminal, and small claims and general civil cases.

The cost of attending the seminar is free, with the exception of attorneys, who are requesting educational credits. The charge for credit attendees is $35.

The program will begin with Berman’s discussion of the role and benefits of mediation at 9 a.m. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa will speak at lunch about the myths and misconceptions about court annexed mediation programs. Judge Ochoa has been acclaimed for his use of alternative dispute resolution in the courts.

Panel discussions will include:

What’s going on in with mediation in Kern County – William Palmer, Kern County Superior Court judge; Kelly Lazerson, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) administrator, Kern County Superior Court; attorney Richard Owen; and Liz Gavin, director, Better Business Bureau.

Update on the Kern County Bar Association ADR Section – mediator Joe Ferra, section president, and attorney Ken Byrum, past president.

Selecting the right mediator – attorneys Jack Draper, Steven Porter and Susan Salvucci.

Non-monetary solutions – attorneys Brent Rosenbaum and Robert Fairman, and mediator Laurelyn Irving.

Mediator secrets, tips and closing the deal – attorneys Ken Byrum, Alan Saler and Craig McCollum.

The daylong seminar will conclude with a panel discussion led by attorney Douglas E. Noll on the topics of confidentiality and ethics in mediation. Noll is a full-time peacemaker and mediator, who specializes in difficult, complex and intractable conflicts. He is a recognized author and has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America since 2005 by He will be joined on the panel by local mediators Joe Ferra, Jeannie Gillen and John “Jack” Hardisty.

To register for the seminar, e-mail

Kelly Lazerson is the author of this article and Kern County Superior Court coordinator for alternative dispute resolution. She can be reached for general information about the seminar at or call 868-4940.

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