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Crisis and Opportunity

The September issue of Advocate magazine (published by CAALA, the Consumer Attorneys Associations for Southern California) contains an article I wrote prompted by the funding crisis in California courts. These court cutbacks, which will cause delays and other problems in working cases through the court system, should cause the consumers of court services–both litigants and attorneys–to rethink the way they use the court system.

The title is borrowed from the fall conference I am helping to organize for the Southern California Mediation Association. Part of my article describes the new “Select a Mediator” program designed by SCMA in response to the closure of the LA County Superior Court’s ADR program.

I also offer some suggestions for conducting litigation in an era where courts have fewer resources to deal with motions and trials. Lawyers and litigants are going to have to negotiate their way through pre-trial proceedings without bringing every controversy to a judge. That’s a necessity caused by budget cutbacks, but doing that might also prove to benefit the parties by reducing the costs of court resolution of every dispute within a case.

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