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Hon. Irwin Joseph, (retired)
Mediator, Arbitrator, Private Judge

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SClara/SCruz/SLO County, CA

Description of Practice

This Mediator is Certified
Resolving disputes quickly and fairly is my goal. Mediation of family issues, civil cases, probate challenges, employment, property and Injury claims is my strength. Concluding claims at the earliest opportunity is my objective.

Starting in 1992, after a lengthy training in mediation, I realized that there was a positive, valuable alternative to traditional litigation. I began mediating cases with regularity and with terrific results. Litigants were able to resolve their differences effectively and efficiently without going to court.

After closing my private practice, I took the bench in January, 2001 as a Superior Court Commissioner in Santa Cruz County. I presided over, Unlimited Civil Court (1.5 years), Family Court (4 years), Juvenile Delinquency Court (1 year), and Misdemeanor Criminal Court (3.25 years).

In 2011, after a short hiatus from the Court, I began serving as All Purpose Judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court Family Court, an assignment I enjoyed for over four years. I retired from the Santa Clara Bench in February, 2016 after almost five years.

Professional Background

While on the bench, I created and expanded a Judicial Mediation program in the Family Department in both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County. I assisted parties in settling over 90% of the cases assigned to me for Mediation at a Judicially Supervised Settlement Conference.

In addition, I served on Faculty for the California Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) at the AOC, Faculty for National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Domestic Violence Training, and The Elkins Family Law Task Force.

I currently serve as Adjunct Faculty at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. There, I teach judges, court personnel and attorneys about Mediation in Dissolution and Parentage cases. The training I co-created has been given thirteen times in California, Vermont and Maryland.

In October, 2015, I co-taught seventeen Judges and Attorneys in Singapore as part of a six-day (32 hour) Pepperdine/Straus training entitled "Mediating the Litigated Case."

Since 1992, I have mediated thousands of disputes with a very high rate of success.

Since 2001, I have presided over the trials and hearings in thousands of cases.


I have conducted thousands of mediations (and mini-mediations) as an Attorney and Bench Officer in Family, Civil and Probate matters.


BA: UCLA, 1969 JD: LaVerne University, 1982


Dates    Trainer(s)    Title   
1995    UCSC Extension    Basic 40 Hours Training
2006    J. Melamed, N. Meierling    Straus/Pepperdine--Family Law (18 hours)
2009-2018    I. Joseph/ D. Saposnek    Straus/Pepperdine--Family Law (18 hours). Malibu, Vermont Law School, Baltimore, Nashville.
2011, 2013    I. Joseph/ D. Saposnek    Straus/Pepperdine--Family Law (13 hours-2sessions)
2015    I. Joseph/ P.Robinson    Straus/Pepperdine/Singapore: Mediating the LItigated Case (32 hours)
2016, 2018    I.Joseph/D. Saposnek    Straus/Pepperdine/Singapore: Family Law Mediation (18 hrs)


My approach is Strategic. Understanding that agreements fashioned by the parties are ideal, I begin each mediation with a joint session to resolve undisputed issues. While in caucus, I cautiously move from a facilitative to an evaluative role and then back, in order to preserve the rights of the parties to fashion their own agreements. When requested by all of the parties, I will maintain an evaluative approach in the session.


I require a retainer deposited in advance, usually the equivalent of three hours time ($1455).

If a date is reserved, the mediation/hearing is expected to begin on time. Mediations will usually commence at 10:00am.

Fees are as follows:

  • South Bay: $485 per hour (3 hour minimum). SLO: $350 per hour
  • No charge for travel time.
  • No charge for time spent scheduling.
  • No charge for file setup.
  • No administrative fees.
  • Preparation time at normal hourly rate
A cancellation within ten calendar days of a scheduled session is subject to a $500 fee.

Other Information

Providing services in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.

Areas of Practice

  • Boundary Disputes
  • Business
  • Civil (general)
  • Divorce (all issues)
  • Divorce (parenting)
  • Land Use
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Harrassment

Professional Services

  • Mediator
  • Mediating Lawyer
  • Advanced Mediation Trainer
  • Mediation Trainer
  • Arbitrator
  • Facilitator
  • Online Mediator
  • Online Arbitrator
  • Mediator-Arbitrator

References available upon request.

This dispute resolution professional keeps liability insurance.