Placer Dispute Resolution Service (PDRS)

Community Mediation in Placer County


I. Opening Statement


Establish a comfortable environment

Develop rapport — trust in the mediator/process Clarification of roles (Mediators control the process, disputants control the outcome.)

Clarification of process

Time constraints

Agreement to Mediation Confidentiality

Establish role of attorneys, if any

Explain the caucus

Explain the voluntary nature of the process

Establish appropriate communication guidelines

Agreement to comply with guidelines

II. Story Telling/Venting and Summarizing


To allow disputants uninterrupted time to tell their story

To explore the issues and feelings surrounding the dispute

To summarize only the relevant information/issues

To discuss the impact of what has happened

To lay the groundwork for understanding

Mediator Tasks:


Take notes

Begin to clarify facts and feelings

III. Defining and Clarifying the Problem/ Prioritizing Issues and Interests/ Establishing Mutual Understanding


Set the stage for problem solving by clearly naming the issues to be tackled.

Focus the disputants on mutual interests and away from positions.

Promote understanding but not necessarily agreement.


List and prioritize the issues

Frame issues to create acceptance, not resistance

Work the agenda, but do not problem-solve at this time

Draw out underlying interests

Look for common ground

Promote dialogue between disputants

IV. Problem Solving/Search for Resolution


Look for agreement

Promote dialogue between disputants

Brainstorming options

Establish criteria

Explore solutions

Form agreement on solutions


Select items from the agenda

All solutions should come from the parties, not the mediator

Consider all suggested options, do not critique

Narrow the solutions to the parties most favored resolutions based on criteria

Negotiate the specifics of each solution, how, when, how much, etc.

V. Agreement


Clarify agreement

Write agreement

Sign agreement


Use plain language

Identify people by full names

Specify dates

Specify method of payment

Answer quantity, time, individuals, price, subject matter

List each provision separately

Omit any mention of blame, fault, or guilt

Do not involve third parties in payment implementation (especially yourself)

Include the parties’ intentions

Check for the three satisfactions

VI. Closure

Thanks and Congratulations to Parties on Their Success

Distribution of Copies of Agreements

Referral (Back to Court, etc.)

Reminder of confidentiality of all matters discussed

Expectations of performance

Possibility of future mediation should any future disagreements arise.