CLA Logo

Alternative Dispute Resolution Services

What is Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services?

Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services (A.A.M.S.), a program of California Lawyers for the Arts (C.L.A.), has provided alternative dispute resolution to artists and entertainers since 1980. C.L.A. started A.A.M.S., which was the first alternative dispute resolution program in the country to specifically tailor its services for the arts and entertainment communities, as a natural extension of the organization's mission to provide preventative education and appropriate means of self help for artists, who often become involved in business arrangements without being fully informed of the legal consequences.

C.L.A. established a special alternative dispute resolution program for the arts after noticing that disputes involving artists, performers and arts organizations, while varied in legal content, may revolve around a set of central themes which would be foreign in the contexts of other dispute resolution programs. Recurring themes include the emotional issues involved with the content of artistic work, credit for work performed and the factors contributing to the production of the work.

What type of services does it provide?

A.A.M.S. provides counseling, conciliation, mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation and meeting facilitation. The service has program coordinators at offices in San Francisco (916-442-6210), Los Angeles (310-998-5590) and Sacramento (916-442-6210) who help artists throughout the state. These program coordinators counsel clients in the use of negotiation techniques in order to help them resolve the dispute for themselves, offer conciliation assistance by communicating between parties by telephone, regular mail and fax, coordinate mediations by setting up a meeting at a neutral site with trained mediators or coordinate arbitrations or early neutral evaluations in accordance with the rules of California Code of Civil Procedure and rules created by the A.A.M.S. Advisory Committee. However, A.A.M.S. program coordinators are neutral and cannot give legal advice or representation.

What kind of disputes does it mediate?

While disputes with A.A.M.S. are generally arts-related, the organization's volunteer mediators have helped parties resolve many types of disputes. A.A.M.S. has helped parties resolve disputes involving landlord-tenant issues, payment or credit for work performed, ownership of artistic work or copyright, collaboration or partnership issues and fee collection.

Interested in joining our mediation panel?
All prospective panelists must fill out a questionaire which can be down downloaded in Word or PDF format. To join the San Francisco panel, please send the questionnaire by fax to
916-441-1170 or by email to To join the Sacramento panel please send the questionnaire by fax to 916-441-1170 or by email to To join the Southern California panel please send the questionnaire by fax to 310-998-5594 or by email to

How are mediation sessions started?

Program coordinators are available to help parties mediate their differences. Most cases are initiated when one party informs A.A.M.S. staff of the dispute and asks the coordinator to contact the second party. The program coordinator contacts the second party in order to explain the mediation process and invites him or her to consider it as a method for resolving the dispute. Once the program coordinator obtains the parties' consent to schedule a mediation session, he or she works with them to clarify the issues to be discussed, establishes agreement about who will attend and notifies the parties and mediators as to the date and time of the session. After the mediation session, the coordinator also follows up each party and sends them an evaluation form.

In the Los Angeles office, a good faith effort will be made to accommodate requests for services on evenings and weekends.

How much does it cost?

A.A.M.S. mediation fees are determined individually with each party. As A.A.M.S. is a nonprofit organization with volunteer involvement, fees are based on a low sliding scale depending on the household income and organization income or budget.

More AAMS information:

Sacramento Mediation Center

Arbitration Defined

Mediation Defined

Arbitration/Mediation Fees & Services

AAMS sample mediation clauses for contracts

Other AAMS resources - National and California resources.

These services in Los Angeles County are made possible through major support from the Los Angeles County Department of Community and Senior Services through the California Dispute Resolution Programs Act

© 2010-2016 California Lawyers for the Arts, All Rights Reserved.

California Lawyers for the Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization & your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent of the law. 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software