California Mediator Mark Baer Calls Upon the State Legislature to Create Stronger Ethics Laws for Lawyers

LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California Mediator and Family Law Attorney Mark Baer of Mark B. Baer, Inc. APLC, today challenged the State Legislature to enact stronger ethics laws for lawyers to better protect the public at large. Specifically, Mediator Baer wants to see laws that require all attorneys to inform their clients about non-adversarial approaches to dispute resolution before they enter into the expensive and time-intensive process of litigation. The public has a right to know about non-adversarial options, but in California, lawyers are not presently required to inform their clients of this when there is a legal dispute.

Although some lawyers are aware of the processes of mediation and collaborative law, and do mention them to their clients, Baer says they may not have a sufficient understanding of those processes from which to properly explain them, and they may also fail to do so at the very outset. Furthermore, to the extent that other attorneys do mention such processes and approaches to their clients and potential clients, they may do so in a biased manner, regardless of the extent of their level of understanding of them. As Baer notes, these processes and approaches are not traditionally taught in law school.

“If lawyers haven’t obtained a sufficient and unbiased understanding of these non-adversarial methods,” states Baer, “how can they adequately explain them to their clients? And if the client doesn’t know what options are available, how can they make an informed decision in that regard? The research has shown that if attorneys do not have a legal obligation to provide such information to their clients, they don’t. This is why I’m proposing that the state legislature enact laws requiring what’s needed for client informed consent, as many other states and countries have already done.”

In the U.S., states that have enacted an explicit, mandatory duty to counsel clients about alternative dispute resolution options include: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia.

Ireland is one of several states, republics and countries that have also taken action. Its Mediation Act of 2017 states: “14(1) A practising solicitor shall, prior to issuing proceedings on behalf of a client – (a) advise the client to consider mediation as a means of attempting to resolve the dispute the subject of the proposed legal proceedings, (b) provide the client with information in respect of mediation services…, and (c) provide the client with information about – (i) the advantages of resolving the dispute otherwise than by way of the proposed proceedings, and (ii) the benefits of mediation.” When a solicitor fails to sign a statutory declaration showing they have done so, the court shall adjourn the proceedings for such a period as it considers reasonable in the circumstances to enable the practicing solicitor concerned to comply.

Baer explains mediation as the kinder, gentler approach to resolving disputes stating, “It is professionally guided problem-solving, rather than the retention of warriors and gladiators to engage in legal warfare. Experienced and well-trained mediators are skilled at de-escalating conflict, improving or establishing communication, and building or re-building trust. Adversarial negotiation, litigation, arbitration and court are adversarial by their very definition. As such, utilization of any of those processes and approaches tends to escalate the level of conflict, increase the level of distrust, and decrease the level and quality of communication. This, in turn, destroys familial and interpersonal relationships.”

In March 2018, Justice Elwood Lui of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in California proposed a rate hike on annual dues for attorneys to raise money for the California State Bar. He stated that “Any postponement of an increase would fundamentally and detrimentally affect the State Bar's ability to discharge its critical public protection functions.”

While the State Bar of California’s purported mission is to protect the public, it cannot do so without the legislature passing informed consent laws, as its main objective is to enforce rules of professional conduct for attorneys and discipline those who violate those rules and laws.

Mark B. Baer is a mediator, conflict resolution consultant and collaborative family law attorney who is considered a thought leader in his industry for his psychologically-minded and relationship-centered approach. A Southern California Super Lawyer since 2012 for alternative dispute resolution, he was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in recognition of exemplary dedication to highest principles of the legal profession, commitment to the welfare of society, and support for the ideals, objectives, and work of the American Bar Foundation. A well-known writer, focusing on the interplay between psychology and conflict resolution within the field of family law, as well as familial and interpersonal relationships in general, he has written columns for, CoParenter, the Huffington Post, and the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association’s award-winning newsletter with many of his articles referenced in books, law review articles, and in think tank studies.


For more information, please contact:
Mark B. Baer, Esq: at (626) 389-8929

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Mediator and Family Law Attorney Mark Baer