Family Law
Mediator and Arbitrator


A Settlement Conference is a hybrid of different mediation approaches referred to as directed mediation or facilitative mediation. Each party is usually represented by counsel, who also is present. The parties are in different rooms and the Mediator shuttles from room to room negotiating a settlement of the issues. The Mediator is selected because of her experience and ability to give the participants a “neutral” third party review, assess the issues, and provide an opinion if the matter proceeds to trial. The Mediator attempts to give the participants a sense of a Judge’s likely analysis of the issues, discusses the risks of taking the case to trial, and discusses the “cost/benefit” of taking the case to trial.

The Mediator can facilitate the parties in being creative in making proposals and using the information gained in each session to assist the parties in reaching an agreement.

The Mediator does not provide legal advice to either party. The Mediator can be used as a sounding board to discuss the differences in legal standards or legal basis available to support a particular theory. This type of Mediator acts in a more directive role. While she will not be giving legal advice, a benefit to using this model is that a party working through a settlement will be given information about the strength or weaknesses of her/his position or legal theory being asserted.

The goal at the conclusion of the Settlement Conference is for the parties to sign a CR2A Agreement which is a binding statement outlining the agreed settlement under RCW 7.04A. Final agreed orders will be drafted by one of the attorneys. If neither party is represented by an attorney, the Mediator can not draft orders pursuant to the WSBA. Therefore, she can recommend someone who could draft orders. It is strongly recommended that each party hire an attorney to review the final agreed orders.

For a dissolution matter, Ms. Russell requires at least one party must attend with an attorney to facilitate drafting and preparation of final orders. Parties alone may attend a settlement conference for post-dissolution matters. The goal at the conclusion of the Settlement Conference is for the parties to sign a CR2A Agreement which is a binding statement outlining the agreed settlement under RCW 7.04A. Final agreed orders will be drafted by one of the attorneys. If neither party is represented by an attorney, the Mediator can not draft orders pursuant to the WSBA. Therefore, she can recommend someone who could draft orders. It is strongly recommended that each party hire an attorney to review the final agreed orders.