Smith LLP

Attorneys and Mediators

The Latham Square Building
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 210
Oakland, CA  94612

Tel: (510) 273-8880

Fax: (510) 588-4673

Harold P. (Peter) Smith

What to look for in a mediator?

The answer is simple.  Someone who will listen to you, understand you, and help you decide. 

Other than my thirty years of practice, my most relevant mediator experience is my five years on the Oakland Planning Commission.  Although, ultimately, we had to decide as a commission, our challenge was to demonstrate that we understood all sides of a particular issue and that we were able to find important facts and discount unimportant ones.  We also had to craft and implement policies affecting very real issues concerning the types of buildings and the impact of various activities.  Our decisions were not easy and, perhaps, not always correct, but we worked hard at understanding the disputes and hearing all points of view.  Over those five years, we heard nearly a thousand hours of testimony and over a thousand different matters.  I gained the ability to listen to difficult issues, to understand all sides, to demonstrate that all sides were heard, to make decisions, and to articulate the rationale for a decision. 

These are some of the most important qualities that you want in your mediator.