The mission of the Mediation Program of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is to provide quality dispute resolution services at the earliest practicable stage. The program is comprised of mediators with a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds, who share the goals of providing parties with opportunities for supported negotiation, exploration of legal and factual issues, creative thinking, and settlement through mediation. The program is an educational resource for the bench, bar, and larger community about the uses and benefits of mediation and other dispute resolution processes. By creating subject-specific protocols, the program evolves in response to the Court's changing docket. The Mediation Program supports the continuing growth and development of professional mediators, and provides opportunities for observation, training, and evaluation for both experienced neutrals and those newer to mediation practice.

What is Mediation?

In mediation, all participants meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) who has been trained to facilitate confidential settlement discussions. Participants include attorneys, parties (whether or not they have a lawyer), and insurance representatives. The mediator assists the parties in reaching their own negotiated settlement by defining the issues, probing and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's legal positions, and identifying areas of agreement and disagreement. The main benefits of mediation are that it can result in an expeditious and less costly resolution of the litigation, and can produce creative solutions to complex disputes often unavailable in traditional litigation.

At the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York the Mediation Program is governed by Local Civil Rule 83.9 and the Mediation Program Procedures. The Court periodically develops subject-specific case management and ADR protocols and currently has such protocols for: counseled employment discrimination (non-FLSA) cases, certain FLSA cases and certain § 1983 police misconduct claims.

Post Mediation Surveys & Reports

Attorney Survey
Mediator Report & Survey


List of Mediators
Mediation Program Volunteer Application and Instructions

Mediation Diversity Statement

Mediation Evaluation Program

Program Introduction
Program Evaluation Forms
City Bar/SDNY ADR Evaluation Program Report

Mediation Preparation Tips for Counsel

Preparing for Mediation: A Resource for Advocates


Click on a question to see the answer.

If a participant does not speak English, does the Court provide interpreters for mediation?

The Court only provides interpreters for mediation when the plaintiff is the U.S. Government or when an interpreter is required in American Sign Language. In some instances the Mediation Office may be able to locate a panel mediator who is able to mediate in languages other than English. Requests that the office attempt to find a panel mediator with specific language expertise should be made immediately after the parties are ordered to mediation.

Where do mediations take place and how are rooms reserved?

Mediation sessions may take place at the mediator's office, at the Courthouse, or at any other location agreed to by the mediator and the parties. Mediation rooms in the courthouses in Manhattan or White Plans are reserved by Mediation Office staff.

Can I bring my cell phone/computer/electronic device into the Court for mediation?

Any attorney can present appropriate verification of membership of the bar of any state or federal court to bring in one cell phone. Attorneys who wish to bring in additional devices such as a tablet or computer must submit an Electronic Device Order which can be found here: Forms/Electronic Devices General Purpose.pdf. To ensure timely processing, these orders must be submitted to the Mediation Office at least 72 hours before the date of the mediation session.

What if someone needs to reach me while I'm in mediation without my phone?

If someone needs to be reached during mediation, they should provide the Mediation Office number (212) 805-0643 to anyone who may need it. This office is staffed from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday and mediation staff will promptly relay any messages to mediation participants. The mediation rooms all have phones that mediation participants can use to return calls.

Can people participate in mediation by phone or video conference?

The Mediation Program Procedures require in person attendance in most circumstances. If your case falls within one of the exceptions for in person attendance, or your mediator has agreed to allow participation by phone or video conference, please contact the Mediation Office to make arrangements at least three weeks in advance of your scheduled mediation date.

Can I play a DVD or videotape in mediation?

Yes. Please contact the Mediation Office at least three weeks in advance of your scheduled mediation date to request the appropriate equipment. You should also provide your mediator with the footage so that it can be viewed in advance of the mediation.

How are mediators selected?

Mediators are randomly selected by the Mediation Office from a list of panel mediators who have the subject matter and/or mediation expertise that is relevant to a particular case.

Is there a transcript or can I record mediation sessions?

No. Mediation sessions are confidential. Any exceptions to confidentiality are detailed in the Mediation Program Procedures.

Does the Court appoint counsel for pro se (unrepresented) litigants in mediation?

In certain cases the Court will appoint pro bono (free) counsel for pro se (unrepresented) parties only for mediation. Any requests for appointment of counsel should be made to the presiding judge.