Judicate West expands Northern California operations

By S. Laney Griffo | Nov 14, 2016

SACRAMENTO -- Judicate West has expanded its operations in Northern California with the recent opening of its Sacramento office.

Judicate West is a premier alternative dispute resolution (ADR) company that has approximately 100 mediators and arbitrators. It has two offices in Los Angeles, as well as offices in Santa Ana, San Diego, San Francisco and now Sacramento. Its primary services include mediation, arbitration and private judging services.

Judicate West opens new office   Shutterstock

Mediation involves a mediator helping two or more parties reach a solution through non-binding negotiation. Arbitration is an expedited, less formal bench trial-like hearing where the arbitrator's ruling is final and binding. It is difficult to appeal in court. Private judging services are when a retired judge privately handles an aspect of a case or a case from start to finish. HIs or her decision can be appealed. Judicate West only offers services for civil cases, not criminal cases.

“Family law is a field we see growth in,” Judicate West President Alan Brutman told the Northern California Record. “Employment law has also become very popular in our field.”

Several factors led to the decision to expand operations to downtown Sacramento.

“Sacramento is an underserved market,” Brutman said. “There is not a lot of ADR providers in Sacramento, especially in downtown.”

With recent development and interest in the downtown area, the need for dispute resolution services is growing too.

“We have noticed a lot of our client firms in Los Angeles and San Francisco are opening satellite offices in Sacramento,” Brutman said.

Courts in Northern California are backed up and moving slowly because of a lack of funding. People are finding using a mediator or arbitrator allows them to get a quicker resolution to their problem. Judicate West saw a gap in ADR providers in the area. According to Brutman, independents were offering mediation and arbitration services but their calendars were quickly filling.

“Clients want prompt responses,” Brutman said. “They have tight windows to schedule a case.”

Judicate West is able to provide a quick turnaround because they have depth with many talented mediators that clients can feel confident in and more than 23 years of experience, Brutman said.

“We had two local mediators, Doug DeVries and Buzz Wiesenfeld that were popular and successful who were looking to find a new home downtown,” Brutman said. “We had a local mediator who was also looking for a new opportunity and a place to grow his practice.”

They were also able to welcome Michael Virga, a retired judge who served on the Sacramento Superior Court for over 22 years. In addition, Judicate West added Rachel Ehrlich to the Northern California line up. She has 20 years of experience as an attorney and has provided mediation and arbitration services with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Not only does the new office provide experience but Judicate West strives to give lawyers an experience that the Sacramento office is able to provide. The office offers a comfortable lounge with daily catered lunches that, according to Brutman, is a place where lawyers are able to network and reconnect with old friends and colleagues during downtimes in their hearings.

“We believe the Sacramento community will embrace our culture,” Brutman said.

The new office has been a bit slow lately, but Brutman said it is about what they were expecting and predicts business will pick up after about a year of operation.  

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