Civil Master Calendar and New Mediation Program for Desert Civil Courtrooms – Applications Requested

The Riverside Court is implementing a new mediation program for the Desert connected with Trial Call/Trial Assignment Conferences. Please read the following information carefully and decide promptly whether you could apply to be a mediator for this program. 

As you may know from appearing in Palm Springs recently:

1.      The Riverside Court has not yet imposed the full Master Calendar on the Desert District, and our understanding is that the Master Calendar will not be imposed in full for calendar year 2018.

2.      The Riverside Court has recently required that our two civil departments in Palm Springs set six (6) cases for trial every week, and hold a Trial Call/Trial Assignment Conference every Friday for all 6 cases with a trial commencement date of the following Monday.  Those Trial Calls have already begun this fall.

3.      Like the Riverside Main courtrooms, when available, the Court will endeavor to provide a mediator through the efforts of Dispute Resolution Services (DRS), a DRPA-funded entity, for any case in which the parties and counsel agree to participate in ADR at those Friday Trial Call Conferences.  DRS mediators will be needed as of January 1, 2018.

4.      The DBA has agreed to help the Riverside Courts’ ADR Coordinator, Sarah Hodgson, and the DRS get the word out to potential mediators who may be approved by DRS.

5.      As they are available, mediators will be assigned to the Desert civil courtrooms for the Trial Call/Trial Assignment Conferences.

6.      Subject to DRS contract limitations and available funding, a flat fee of $150 per day may be available to the mediator who appears.

To be considered, those interested need only complete the online application to begin that process, at this link: DRS will then review the application and consider the applicant’s suitability. 

The application seeks fairly standard information (mediation/arbitration training and experience, professional background, etc.). Applicants need to join the Riverside County Bar Association (RCBA) to qualify.  DBA members get a discount on RCBA membership fees.  Go to to apply. 

DRPA is contained partially in the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Chapter 36, Sections 3600-3680, and partially in the Business and Professions Code Sections 465-471.5.  Although 25 hours of training is required, experienced mediators seeking approval to serve should review Section 3622 of the CCR, which discusses training. Please particularly note subsection (g), which some mediators may satisfy:

(a)   Any neutral person who has received training which complies substantially with these Regulations, or who has had at least 25 hours of dispute resolution experience prior to his or her provision of dispute resolution services, shall be deemed to have met the orientation and training requirements mandated by these Regulations. Such prior training or experience shall be verified by the program or organization through which it was rendered.

If you have questions, please do not reply to this Desert Bar email distribution address.  Please contact:

Sarah Hodgson

Superior Court of California

County of Riverside

Administrative Attorney, Coordinator of ADR Services


You can also discuss with Ms. Hodgson how to serve as a neutral for mandatory judicial arbitrations and how better to assist the Courts and DRS.

This Trial Call/Trial Assignment mediation program is in addition to, and does not replace, our valued and unique First Friday Settlement Conferences, which will continue to resolve cases earlier in the litigation process, i.e., before the Trial Call/Trial Assignment Conference.  The DBA wishes to thank Gary Galton of Accord Mediation for his faithful and sacrificial service to the courts and to thank the Desert lawyers for their continuing services in that Program!  The DBA will continue to support the First Friday volunteer program, which settles approximately 50% of the cases assigned. 

Thank you for your sacrifice and service to the Courts and the DBA, and for your prompt consideration of this request from the DBA and the Courts.