Mediation with Family & Friends

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Family mediation/mediator needed

Oct 2010

I am hoping to find an experienced FAMILY mediator with the following qualities:
-a warm and calming demeanor
-a rational and logical mind
-working knowledge of different cultures, family dynamics, etc.
-a results-oriented track record for suggesting practical solutions that can be realistically implemented

An overview of the issue: 2 adult women (an attorney-type and a business- type) who need to each take approrpriate responsiblity for the contribution they make to their mutual relationship in which each other's expectations and roles don't appear to align. We need a very smart-cookie! anon

I would like to recommend Ilene Diamond as a mediator for you. She is a psychologist who also has a law degree. She is bright, intuitive and very thoughtful. I think you will find what you are looking for in a mediator with her. Ilene Diamond,J.D.,PsyD. (415) 820-1508 She's definitely a 'smart cookie'. Diane

I would strongly recommend Robert Terris as a mediator for couple's family decisionmaking/conflict. My husband and I went to see Robert to talk through a very difficult decision (moving for a job opportunity for one of us) that was causing a great deal of stress and friction in our relationship. Before we began seeing Robert, we were pretty sure that whichever way we went, one of us was going to end up quite resentful and compromised. In addition, the decision was unearthing a number of buried issues in our relationship regarding our parents, work-life balance, and priorities. Robert helped us structure our decision, talk through the underlying emotional issues, and make compromises. In the end we made our decision with both of us fully vested in the outcome and feeling that we were truly making the best choice for us as a joint household. Along the way, we learned a lot about each other and how to better communicate.

Robert's background as both a legal mediator and a therapist is an amazing combination, because he is equally good at reconciliation between two people/parties in conflict and supporting each person's emotional work and reflection. In addition, he is extremely well read and trained in spiritual disciplines (eastern and western), communication skills, psychology and family counseling, and cooperative lawyering. As a result of his unusual combination of skills and knowledge, our sessions with him involved everything from brainstorming charts on butcher block paper to couple's counseling-like weeping. He is not a sit-back-and-just-listen type (though he is an incredible listener)--he actively helps structure your conversation, offers very productive advice, and helps two people/parties achieve better direct communication with one another.

Every session after leaving his office, we felt a bit better, and we always left with new insights about where we were each coming from and how we might better meet each other's needs. We will go back to Robert in a heartbeat the next time we need some support and marital 'reorganizing,' and I strongly advise others to make the investment of time and money in getting couple's help like this. I've never been one to spend money on much extra self care (whether therapy or massages) but this truly was worth it. Robert is the real deal! He can be reached at (510) 684-2172. anon

Family law mediator

Feb 2008

Hello, Does anyone have experience with the following attorneys, focusing on 1. their sharp legal knowledge, as well as 2. their willingness to mediate rather than go to court? Positive or negative experiences solicited ~ thanks! Robert A. Goodman, Steven Peter Small, Eva Herzer, Emily Doskow, Christina Bemko Littlefield, Vivian L. Holley, Stuart I. MacKenzie Thanks
Need bright attorney; not necessarily for court appearance

Eva Herzer is a keenly intelligent and straightforward yet sensitive mediating attorney. She does not do traditional contentious litigation at all, but works solely in mediation. At the same time, she is well school in the ins and outs of the law and makes a great adviser, speaking from a position of strength. She also has a lot of experience in the areas of divorce and mediation. I would recommend her. Linda

I've had experience with Vivian Holley. I imagine her legal knowledge is good enough, though my attorney told me that she was incorrect about three statements made. As to her willingness to mediate rather than go to court, well, mediation is Ms. Holley's niche. My input is to try someone else first though. I was extremel.y unhappy with her manner, her methods and her results. She could also cost you a bundle bc she talks *so* slowly, laboriously, and repeats things - really! My attorney always couldn't wait to get her off the phone. Also, possibly in her efforts to appear fair, she implicitly gave some legitimacy, encouraged the continued behavior of my vexatious plaintiff. She actually recommended a *ridiculous*, patently expensive and unworkable solution that both I and the plaintiff rejected. anonynous

Mediator for shared housing agreements

Oct 2004

A friend and I are currently sharing a duplex and are looking for someone who can help us create an agreement regarding repairs, remodeling and possibly changing the division of ownership. Who can work with us on this? Anonymous

We used Frederick Hertz for our tenants-in-common legal agreement (we also have a duplex) and I recommend him. We had already discussed and written out a bunch of stuff on our own and came in with many ideas and notes, but he asked us the right questions to pull even more details out. He was very professional and clearly experienced in this type of legal agreement. He's in downtown Oakland and his office number is 510-451-4114.

We chose Frederick Hertz after speaking with 2 other people who do these agreements. Michael St. John (845-8928) says he's the founder of tenants-in-common agreements in Berkeley but is not a lawyer, and John Gutierrez (644-1904) who is an attorney and will actually come to your house to survey the property to make sure you're getting everything into the agreemment.

I'm very happy we chose Hertz. Our agreement seems great (though fortunately we've never had to use it in any legal situation) and his fee was lower than it would have been Gutierrez, who talked about a minimum of like 5 hours or something. I will use Frederick Hertz for future legal matters as well.

More Reviews of Mediators

June 2006

Does anyone have experience with the family mediator Mary Duryee? Any positive or negative feedback would be most helpful...thanks! Anon, please!

we had mediation with mary duryee. We had a particularly difficult situation, and the process was painful, as I am sure it may be for any divorce. Part of what was frustrating was the communication, as she was not quick about getting back to us about questions, and the custody schedule took her almost a month longer than she had said it would. After much deliberation, and finally receiving the schedule, I found out that our schedule is almost exactly the same as another set of parents who used her, which has me questioning how personalized our schedule actually is. anon

Mediation Services

Re: Mediation for mom and 14-y-o in turmoil? (May 2004)
Dear Mother of the 14 Year Old Girl,
Mediation Services, 22227 Redwood Rd. Castro Valley, offers FREE Parent-Teen Mediation. Mediation is a safe space for both parents and youth to express thier point of view and work towards a mutually satifying solution. We will team up a youth and adult mediator for Parent-Teen Mediations. Issues such as respect, trust, expectations, and independence are issues that we see arise in Parent- Teen Mediations. Please call Shana Subelsky,Youth Services Director, at 510-733-4940 x 224. Thanks and Good Luck! Mediation Services