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Serving the Creative Arts Community Since 1974

Arts Arbitration & Mediation Services

Need AAMS assistance? Click on the online request form below

Online Dispute Resolution Mediation/Arbitration Request Form

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 is Mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and informal process during which disputing parties meet face-to-face with neutral mediators who assist the parties in fully and clearly discussing their concerns and reaching a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. Mediation sessions generally last up to three hours. 

For more information CLICK HERE.

What kind of disputes does AAMS 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

What are the benefits of mediation?

  • Provides an opportunity for private and confidential resolution
  • Reduces the uncertainty and risk of trial
  • Faster than trial
  • Much less expensive than trial
  • Provides a less stressful and facilitated environment, unlike the courtroom
  • Permits creative settlements that could not be achieved at trial
  • Creates settlements that meet the real needs of the parties
  • Opens channels of communication; important for ongoing relationships

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

  • Usually, one party will open a case for mediation by paying a reasonable fee and by providing AAMS with the name(s) and contact information for the other party/parties.

  • AAMS will then contact the other party/parties in order to explain the mediation process and invite them to consider it as a method for resolving the dispute.

  • Once AAMS obtains all parties' consent to participate, AAMS will work with them to clarify the issues to be discussed, establish agreement about who will attend, and schedule the mediation session for a day and time that work for everyone involved. 

  • After the session, AAMS will follow up with each party and send 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.

Fee Schedule

What is conciliation?

When disputing parties cannot or do not want to meet with or talk directly to one another, an AAMS staff person/mediator will confidentially communicate with each party, relaying information via telephone and email between the parties until a resolution is reached.

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.

Fee Schedule

Online Dispute Resolution Mediation/Arbitration Request Form

Contact your local office:

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. 

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.

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.



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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