Ann Kotlarski mediates and arbitrates employment and commercial disputes. Her focus is on resolving disputes to minimize the effects of protracted litigation.
Philosophy & Approach
Seeing the Big Picture
I understand that the best settlements are achieved by seeing the ”big picture” and how it will appear to the trier of fact. Based upon my trial and arbitration experience, I always evaluate a case from the viewpoints of both parties and work with both sides to set realistic expectations about what is a reasonable, achievable settlement. This neutral perspective promotes resolution.
I also understand the emotional dynamics of conflict. Consistently, I create an atmosphere of frank communication between parties, demonstrating active listening and courtesy at all times. My approach has resulted in the resolution of hundreds of cases, often during the early stages of litigation, avoiding for all parties the cost, time and risk attendant to ongoing litigation.
Customizing for Each Dispute
Every matter is unique and deserves a customized approach. From start to finish, I seek to understand how the parties perceive the factual, legal and interpersonal issues of their case. I initiate pre-mediation calls with each counsel to explore the issues of primary concern that are key to achieving a resolution.
During mediation itself, I facilitate productive negotiations by ensuring that all parties and their counsel are heard, their suggestions solicited and their confidences maintained. As appropriate, I do provide frank evaluations of the potential strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ respective cases. Understanding the obstacles parties may face in the early as well as later stages of litigation, I am a natural problem solver committed to collaborating with the parties to formulate practical solutions to bridge any impasse in negotiations. Throughout the process, I maintain a relaxed atmosphere and keep the parties focused. I am not just a number carrier. My style is to earn your trust and work hard so that I bring value to the mediation process to achieve the benefits of a fair result and closure for the parties.
preparation and Persistence are Key to Resolution
I carefully review and analyze the materials submitted by the parties. As appropriate, I request additional information, exhibits and/or deposition testimony to ensure that I am fully briefed before the mediation commences. If an initial mediation session does not result in settlement, I consistently follow up with counsel to obtain closure.
Background & Experience
30 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN EMPLOYMENT AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATIOn
After 30 years in private practice as a trial lawyer, I am transitioning to working full time as a neutral. I have been a partner with a number of major international law firms. This experience has allowed me to try, arbitrate and mediate a wide variety of employment as well as commercial disputes. I have extensive experience in single and multi-plaintiff discrimination cases based upon age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, religion, medical condition, disability and employment related contract and tort claims as well as wage and hour claims. My experience includes trying cases to verdict in matters including claims for retaliation, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, national origin and disability discrimination as well as commercial contract and tort claims in a wide variety of industries including finance, construction, aerospace, retail, internet technology, pharmaceutical, entertainment and hospitality.
Why did I chose to be a mediator and arbitrator?
Over the years, in the course of my working relationships with opposing counsel and co-counsel, frequently they asked if I considered working as a neutral. On reflection, I realized that what was so enjoyable about the practice of law was implementing pragmatic strategies to resolve issues between the parties in the context of a disputed or litigated matter. It became clear to me that becoming a full time neutral was my natural calling.
ADDITIONAL NEUTRAL SERVICEs
During the course of my practice, I served as a neutral fact finder and developed programs to promote early dispute resolution. This resulted in the majority of cases settling before the commencement of significant discovery where the parties’ investment of time and expenses can make resolution more difficult. I am available to conduct presentations on this topic and many other ADR related topics for CLE credit through Judicate West.
Education & Training
- Northwestern University, 1982 B.A. History
- University of San Francisco School of Law, 1985 cum laude
- Participation in the Los Angeles Superior Court CRASH program
- Formal dispute resolution training at Pepperdine University School of Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, including Mediating the Litigated Case, Women’s Negotiation Academy, and Resolving Workplace Disputes Through Mediation and Other ADR Processes
- United States District Court for the Central District of California Advanced Mediation Training
- Panel Mediator for the United States District Court for the Central District of California
How Employment Practices Liability Insurance Affects Your Employment Cases, LACBA Labor and Employment Briefing, June 27, 2017
Mediation of Discrimination Cases, Clear Law Institute, March 7, 2017
Effective Evaluation and Mediation of Discrimination and Retaliation Claims, Celesque for Westlaw, February 1, 2016
The Current State of Affairs: Best Practices and Pitfalls In Negotiating Employment Law Disputes in Mediation, Southern California Mediation Association 2016 Employment Mediation Institute, May 19, 2016
Valuation of Discrimination/Retaliation Cases In Mediation: A 360 Perspective, 2016 LACBA Labor and Employment Symposium, March 9, 2016
Managing Leaves of Absence and Accommodations in California: An Essential Guide for In-House Employment and Corporate Counsel, Celesque for Westlaw, February 1, 2016
Arbitrating in 2016: New Cases, Rules, Challenges and Opportunities, Judicate West Program, January 28, 2016
HR Investigation Workshop: A Guide to Legal and Effective Inquiries, Business Management Daily, January 16, 2016
HR Legislative and Paid Sick Leave Update, Employer’s Group, Fall 2015
Managing Accommodations, The Interactive Process and Leaves of Absence, Celesque for Westlaw, June 3, 2015
The Experts on Experts, 2015 LACBA Labor and Employment Retreat, April 25, 2015
Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations: A Nuts and Bolts Guide For In-House Employment and Corporate Counsel, Celesque for Westlaw, April 8, 2015
References furnished upon request.
Rates and Scheduling
The full day rate for mediations is $5,500 which includes up to ten hours of hearing and review time. Half day rate is $2,750 which includes up to five hours of hearing and review time. Additional time incurred beyond the full and half day rates may be billed at $550 an hour. There is a non-refundable administrative fee per side.
For arbitrations, the hourly rate is $550. In addition, a refundable retainer may be charged for review, preparation and motion hearings. The unused portion of the retainer is returned upon conclusion of the arbitration. Depending upon the length of the arbitration, Judicate West administrative fees may apply.
Mediations and arbitrations are held at Judicate West’s neutral facilities. Judicate West has convenient state wide locations with multiple conference rooms. Lunch, as well as never-ending snacks and validated parking, is provided.
I am available for mediations and arbitrations state wide with no travel charge (as reasonable) based upon location.
Scheduling of mediations and arbitrations may be arranged through my executive case manager, Heather Reed, who may be reached at email@example.com or (800) 488-8805 or (805) 569-2650. Heather is a seasoned pioneer in the ADR field. Heather manages all the case convening and client relations for my practice. She obtained her Masters degree in dispute resolution from Pepperdine Law School/Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution in 1996. Prior to that, she received her Bachelor degree as a double major in Political Science and Sociology, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1992 from University of Santa Barbara. Thank you in advance for your inquiry. I look forward to having the opportunity to assist you with your mediation or arbitration needs.