California is a leader in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) domain and significant changes in its policies regarding mediation have the potential to affect mediation law in other state courts as well as the federal court system. In recent years, state funding cutbacks have forced county courts to drastically reduce staff overhead, thereby impacting their ability to counsel potential stakeholders during the intake process. Students are transforming the high overhead costs of the off-line mediation process into a low-cost, online platform (including procedural simplification and adaptation). Students work collaboratively to assist the San Mateo Superior Court in developing and implementing an online mediation process and platform for the Family Law division, building on the work of previous practicums, which undertook extensive stakeholder analysis, to refine a prototype for an online ADR platform. Students work with Court staff and other stakeholders to test and refine the prototype with the help of Modria, Inc. (a mediation software provider that is donating the technological platform). Students develop the supporting legal and procedural educational materials for disputants and mediators, and an evaluation protocol to measure and improve the online information flow and intake program.
- San Mateo County Superior Court, Small Claims and Family Law Divisions
- Prototype for a click-through, web-based, client-intake platform
Students assisted the San Mateo Superior Court in developing and implementing an online mediation process for the Family Law division. Students expanded the work of previous practicums, refining a prototype for an online, click-through, mediation information platform for the Court’s website. The platform helps parties understand whether their issues are right for mediation – the work that had been done by staff personnel.