Serving the Creative Arts Community Since 1974


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What is Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services (AAMS)?

AAMS, a program of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), has provided alternative dispute resolution to artists and entertainers since 1980. It 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. 

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 AAMS provide?

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Counseling
  • Conciliation
  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Training

What kind of disputes does it mediate?

While disputes with AAMS are generally arts-related, the organization's volunteer mediators have helped parties resolve many types of disputes, including:

  • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright Ownership, Trade Secret
  • Payment or Credit for Work Provided/Performed
  • Damaged Artwork or Return of Artwork
  • Collaboration or Partnership 
  • Contract or Fee Collection 
  • Landlord-Tenant and Real Estate
  • Family Law, Co-Parenting, and Separation Issues
  • Neighbor Disputes
  • Barking Dogs

These Services Are Made Possible in Part Through Support from the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the California Dispute Resolution Programs Act.

How are mediation sessions started? What's the process?

  • Usually, one party requests AAMS to contact the second party, and pays the case opening fee. 
  • AAMS contacts the second party in order to explain the process and invites them to consider it as a method for resolving the dispute. 
  • Once AAMS obtains all parties' consent to participate, AAMS works with them to clarify the issues to be discussed, establishes agreement about who will attend, and notifies the parties and volunteer mediators as to the date and time of the session. 
  • After the session, AAMS follows up each party and sends them an evaluation form.

How much does it cost?

The initiating party pays a non-refundable case opening fee. Session fees are a flat rate paid individually by each party, and based on a sliding scale depending on household or organizational income. 

Contact your local office:

More AAMS information:

Arbitration Cases
Mediation Defined
Fee Schedule
AAMS sample clauses for contracts
Other AAMS resources 
(National and California resources)

AAMS staff are neutral and cannot give legal advice. Also, they cannot review completed arbitration forms for accuracy. If you wish to arrange a consultation with an attorney, you may contact the Lawyer Referral Service of California Lawyers for the Arts at 888-775-8995.

Interested in joining our volunteer mediator and arbitrator panel?

All prospective mediator panelists must fill out an online questionnaireor downloaded a paper version in Word or PDF format.  Send your application questionnaire and a resume to:

  • San Francisco Bay Area mediator panel, please send the questionnaire by email.  
  • Sacramento Area mediator panel please send the questionnaire by fax to 916-441-1170 or by email.
  • Southern California Area panel please send the questionnaire by email.
Please see our events calendar for upcoming AAMS trainings. To receive information about training, sign up for our mailing list below.



California Lawyers for the Arts is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution to the fullest extent of the law.  State Bar LRS Certificate #0021.

MCLE Provider # 1248.

The information provided on this website is not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your legal matters.

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