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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Family Law Mediation Clinic (Spring 2019)

Course Description

The Family/Dependency Law Mediation Clinic is a Spring semester course open to a subset of the students who enrolled in the Mediation Clinic I course in the Fall 2018 semester.  Students will be taught the unique skills and substantive area of the law necessary to successfully mediate these important and challenging cases in the Edelman Children’s courthouse in Monterey Park.  Mediations will be conducted in a co-mediation style and assisted by Supervisory staff of lead mediators at Edelman Children’s courthouse. In addition to substantial field work conducting mediations, the class will also have regular meetings at USC, where the students and the instructor will debrief the court mediations, discussing the challenges encountered as well as effective techniques and strategies to use in future mediations.       

B. Instructor

Professor:  Marilyn Mordetzky
Phone:  (818) 261-3795

Office Hours:  by appointment

C. Textbook

There is a course reader prepared by the instructor.

Time and Place

Credit and Grading

The Family/Dependency Law Mediation Clinic is a one semester, 4 unit course.It is taught for a numerical grade only.


Enrollment in Mediation Clinic I in the Fall 2018 semester.

Class Recording

Classes will never be recorded, either routinely or upon student request.

Course Objectives

By the conclusion of this course, students will be able to co-mediate competently dependency cases in the Edelman Children’s Courthouse in Monterey Park.

II.  Course Requirements & Guidelines

Class Preparation and Participation

Class discussion will commence with the assumption that everyone is thoroughly familiar with the assigned materials and is prepared to participate in discussions in a professional manner. 

Attendance and Classroom Behavior

Regular and punctual attendance is expected of all students.  Please note that all communication and entertainment devices such as cell phones, iPods, and iPads are to be turned off and kept off throughout the class session.

Grading Criteria

There will be no final exam.  Grades will be based upon the following three sets of criteria, weighted as indicated:

(30%)  Class attendance, active and meaningful contributions to class discussions, and skill proficiency in preparing for and conducting roleplays and other in-class exercises.

(30%)  A journal entry of each mediation conducted by the student is due at the class preceding the completed mediation. Four (4) total mediations are due at the conclusion of the Spring semester. Mediations may include mock mediations done in class. The journals shall describe one new important lesson learned in conducting that mediation at the Edelman courthouse or mock mediation.

(40%)  Knowledge and skill in preparing for and conducting court mediations.  Your grade for this component of the course is not dependent upon whether you actually achieve settlement at mediation, but will instead focus on your efforts to help the parties reach settlement, with an emphasis on demonstrated creativity, practical problem solving, working collaboratively, professionally, and productively with the parties (and your co-mediator), and application of the mediation techniques studied and practiced in class.  Also important is the ability to reflect on your performance and devise strategies for improving your techniques.

III. Topical Outline

Introduction to Conducting Mediations at the Edelman Childrens’ Courthouse

Overview of Dependency Law

Overview of  Family Law
Dependency Court Procedures

Contents of a Dependency Court File and how it assists in mediation 
Identifying underlying issues in Dependency Mediations
Steps for Setting the Stage and Methodology for a successful mediation


Course Details

  • Unit Value: 4
  • Grading Options: Numerical Only
  • Schedule: Th 6:00 pm - 7:50 pm
  • Room Number: Room 118/120
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: Yes
  • Participation: Required and graded
  • Pre-requisites: Fall enrollment in the Mediation Clinic