Deborah Rocha, Chair of the Conference Committee with the Board of Supervisors Declaration supporting Mediation Week.

Deborah Rocha, Chair of the Conference Committee with the Board of Supervisors Declaration supporting Mediation Week.

A former, self-described “aggressive, arrogant” trial lawyer, Douglas Noll decided to do something drastically different from other lawyers–he became a peacemaker.

Now a full-time mediator, the  2012 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year recipient recently spoke about his work promoting peace and mediation in prisons and how successful his program has become.

Noll was the keynote speaker at the 20th Annual Orange County Mediation Conference on Friday, March 16, 2012 at the Orange County Sheriff’s Training Facility in Tustin, CA. The all-day event drew crowds of attorneys, mediators and other legal professionals eager to learn an alternative way of dealing with civil disputes.

Parisah Robinson, volunteer mediator, looked forward to, “Getting a new perspective from judges, people in courts…Collaborate on new strategies, ideas and perspectives.”

And what exactly was the purpose of the event? “We want to promote peace in the community; if there is awareness then we will meet that goal,” says Debra Rocha, chairperson of Orange County Mediation Conference Committee.

“Mediation is the best way to resolve disputes. It’s cost-effective, time effective and a win- win situation,” says Priya Iyengar, speaker. The conference had an array of different speakers addressing the importance of mediation and the benefits it provides to the courts, residents and those experiencing civil disputes.

Topics discussed at the conference included police/community conflict management,  ethical duties, eliminating bias in mediation and other tips to successful mediation.   

OC Human Relations was present at the event with the organization’s treasurer, Alfonso Clarke, front and center. “This conference is the premier annual event for a gathering of mediators in Orange County coming together to attend mediation workshops and network with each other,” shared Alfonso Clarke. “OC Human Relations has been a principal sponsor of the conference for all these years because it is important for us to support key efforts in promoting and developing peaceful means of resolving conflicts in our communities,” concluded Mr. Clarke.

OC Human Relations provides mediation services through its Dispute Resolution Program (DRP). The program helps individuals going through a range of conflicts from child custody issues to employee/employer disputes. DRP personnel evaluate each case and assess whether mediation will resolve the conflict. If mediation can help, a DRP volunteer mediator will administer mediation sessions and ease the conflict resolution process.

Volunteer mediators are essential at facilitating the mediation program. Thus, volunteers were eager to explain the positive influence mediation has had on the clients they have assisted.

“You see how quickly people change from thinking they are right to being willing to compromise,” says Dennis Gilmore, volunteer mediator.

So in the words of Douglas Noll, “Make peace.” OC Human Relations can help you do just that. If you want to know more about becoming a volunteer mediator or if you have an issue that needs mediation, please contact us at 714-567-7470.