Forrest (Woody) Mosten

Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Certified Family Law Specialist

Forrest S. Mosten Biography

Watch Woody’s 7-Part Interview about the Development of his Peacemaking Career on CuttingEdgeLaw.com 

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7 (YouTube links)

Los Angeles Mediator Forrest "Woody" MostenForrest S. Mosten is in mediation and collaborative law practice in Los Angeles and is the author of Collaborative Divorce Handbook (Jossey-Bass, 2010), The Complete Guide to Mediation (ABA, 1997), Unbundling Legal Services (ABA, 2000), and Mediation Career Guide (Jossey-Bass, 2001) He specializes in high conflict mediations involving divorcing families, partnerships, employment disputes, probate, real estate, commercial disputes and other complex civil lawsuits.

Mr. Mosten has been honored by the ABA, LA County Bar Association, Beverly Hills Bar Association and trains mediators and collaborative professionals worldwide. His pioneering work in mediation and unbundling has been covered by the LA Daily Journal, LA Times, NY Times, USA Today, ABA Journal, LA Daily News, Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Town & Country and other publications all over the world.

Professional Background

Forrest S. Mosten has been in private mediation practice since 1979. Mr. Mosten is in constant demand as a master trainer for basic courses, advanced courses, individual supervision for practicing mediators, conflict resolution professionals, and training other conflict resolution trainers. He is popular presenter at conferences throughout the world.

Listen to an interview with Woody on the Doug Noll Show

In addition to his work as a neutral, Mr. Mosten maintains an active practice as a family lawyer representing clients in divorce, pre-marital agreements, and complex issues in property, support, and parenting issues after divorce. The California State Bar has recognized Mr. Mosten as a Certified Family Law Specialist. Mr. Mosten does not accept engagements that involve court appearances. He practices with a collaborative and problem solving model and has trained Collaborative Lawyers throughout the world and serves as a negotiation and mediation consultant for other family litigators. Mr. Mosten has been named Super Lawyer by Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine and as one of the top 25 Family Mediators in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Mr. Mosten has been given two major awards by the American Bar Association: A Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovations in Legal Access by the ABA Section of Delivery of Legal Services; and the Lawyer as Problem Solver Award by the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution. For a video of Mr. Mosten discussing several of his contributions to the field, see the videos below.

Mr. Mosten teaches mediation as a member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Law. He also teaches in the Dispute Resolution Program at Pepperdine School of Law. He has taught at USC Law Center, Hamline School of Law, Whittier School of Law, SMU, and University of San Diego School of Law, and was Director of Clinical Education and law professor at the Mercer School of Law.

Mr. Mosten is recognized as the “Father of Unbundling” for his pioneering work in promoting Limited Scope and Discrete Task Services for lawyers to play a major and effective role in mediations. His ABA book Unbundling Legal Services: A Guide to Delivering Legal Services A La Carte was published in 2000. He served as a Keynote Speaker at the first national conference on unbundling in October 2000 in Baltimore and published the first article on the subject in the ABA Family Law Quarterly in 1994.

Mr. Mosten has also been credited as the inventor of the Client Library and the Confidential Mini-Evaluation, and as an authority on preventive law, including the use of the Conflict Wellness/Personal Legal Check-Up, first developed by Mr. Mosten’s mentor, Professor Louis M. Brown.

Mr. Mosten has been named 1999 Peacemaker of the Year and Conference Keynote Speaker three times by the Southern California Mediation Association, was awarded the Louis. M. Brown Conflict Prevention Award by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and is the founding Chair of the Dispute Resolution Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and recipient of its President’s Award for his work in mediation. He served as Chair of the ADR Committee of the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and has been Chair of the International Client Counseling Competition affiliated with the International Bar Association since 1989. This prestigious law school activity now bears his name www.brownmosten.com

Mr. Mosten is actively engaged in a number of initiatives to increase the awareness and use of conflict resolution and prevention in our society. He was the Chair of the ACR Taskforce to establish a National Peacemaker Museum and is a key thinker and supporter of the movement to form a US Department of Conflict Resolution and Prevention. In 2006, the Southern California Mediation Association established the SCMA/Forrest S. Mosten Mediation Library Fund to set up citizen information centers on conflict resolution at institutions throughout Southern California. In 2007, the University of California at Riverside established the Forrest S. Mosten Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Program to form an academic Minor Degree in this area of study, an annual Scholar in Residence and Lecture Program, and a student internship program. Mr. Mosten was the inaugural Scholar in Residence; his lecture was “Peacemaking: From Kindergarten to the Middle East.” In 2008, Mr.Mosten was the Commencement Speaker for the university asking graduates to “Take a Peacemaker Pledge.”

His innovations in mediation and legal access have been reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Business Week, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the ABA Journal and many other publications throughout the world.

Mr. Mosten is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Riverside and received his Juris Doctorate at the UCLA School of Law. He is married to Dr. Jody Mosten, a Clinical Psychologist. He has a daughter, Jordana Mosten, and a stepson, Derek Grotzinger, who is married to Julie. Woody is a passionate golfer whose handicap ranges from 12 to 17, depending on his workload.

For a conversation with Diana Mercer (author and founder of Peacetalks) about his contributions to the peacemaking field, click here.

Mediation Experience

Since starting as a professional mediator in 1979, I have resolved hundreds of disputes both privately and as a court appointed mediator. My cases are referred nationwide by litigators, judges, corporate counsel, therapists, accountants, other professionals and former clients. I am most gratified by referrals from other mediators, many of whom I have personally trained and mentored.

Case Examples:

  • Family:
    Many high profile parties involving complex financial and legal issues with lawyers, appraisers, and therapists participating in the mediations both in session and out.
  • Construction Defect:
    30 parties and over 100 people at 7-day mediation conducted at Los Angles Dept of Water and Power.
  • Employment:
    Many matters involving large companies as well as small businesses.
  • Business:
    Partnership dissolutions, restructure of investors, and conflicts in real estate investment.
  • Condo Association-Developer Disputes:
    Involving fraud and construction defects.
  • Entertainment:
    Rock band dispute over royalties, mismanagement, copyright infringement, and legal malpractice.
  • Organizational Disputes:
    Native Indian Intra Tribal Disputes and with Third Parties; schools and universities on all levels; governmental disputes.

Style of Mediation

I employ strategic planning and a full toolbox of mediation tactics. I work with parties and counsel to design a process that will resolve their dispute. While I prefer low-key, safe, and a facilitative tone and format, I increase directive and evaluative approaches where necessary. My article, “Muscle Mediation”
demonstrates that I can play hard-ball if necessary in order to settle a case.

I have pioneered the use of pre-mediation private sessions with parties in order to prepare them to maximize success at the joint sessions.

I prefer non-confidential briefs so that counsel can educate and persuade the other side and help bring reality and dissonance into risk analysis.

I urge parties and counsel to both make opening statements to encourage participation in the process and stimulate discussion that motivates movement.

No two mediations have ever been identical—I am usually retained due to my creative and innovative approach to designing format and helping develop comprehensive and workable settlements. I am both patient and tireless. I never give up and often my confidence is the single factor that motivates conflicted parties to reach settlement.

Conflict is pernicious—ending it with dignity and a workable solution frees parties to cut losses and move on with their lives. I urge parties to focus on one variable: “Can I Live with This Agreement?”

Training

Have been in continuous training since starting to mediate in 1979. In addition to basic and advanced courses in civil and family mediation, I have taken specialized training in international mediation and arbitration, mediation in mass tort actions, and facilitation of conflict resolution in the workplace.

Education

  • Juris Doctor, UCLA (1972)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Riverside (Phi Beta Kappa), 1969.
  • Admitted to Law Practice in California (1972) and Georgia (1977-Inactive)

Other Qualifications

  • Charter Member, Los Angeles County Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Executive Committee.
  • Convener: Training Mediators for the 21st Century, Western Justice Center, Pasadena, California.
  • Founding Chair, Beverly Hills Bar ADR Section.
  • Chair numerous committees, ABA Dispute Resolution Section.
  • Chair, California State Bar Middle Income Committee.
  • Member, ABA IOLTA Commission.
  • Member, ABA Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution.
  • Chair, ABA Client Counseling Committee.
  • Executive Chair, Louis M. Brown and Forrest S. Mosten International Client Counseling Committee (since 1989).
  • Family Law Section Executive Committee Chair, Mediation Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Current Peacemaking Initiatives

Forrest S. Mosten is actively engaged in a number of initiatives to increase the awareness and use of conflict resolution and prevention in our society. In addition to his scholarship and teaching at the UCLA School of Law, Mr. Mosten’s projects include:

  • Chair of Brown-Mosten International Client Counseling Competition affiliated with IBA (since 1989)
  • Chair of ABA Lawyer as Problem Solver Committee (Recipient of the Award in 2004)
  • Past Chair of the ACR Taskforce to establish a National Peacemaker Museum.
  • Recognized theorist and supporter of the movement to form a US Department of Conflict Resolution and Prevention
  • In 2006, the Southern California Mediation Association established the SCMA/Forrest S. Mosten Mediation Library Fund to set up citizen information centers on conflict resolution institutions throughout Southern California.
  • In 2007, the University of California at Riverside established the Forrest S. Mosten Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution Program to form an academic Minor Degree in this area of study, an annual Scholar in Residence and Lecture Program, and a student internship program. Mr. Mosten was the inaugural Scholar in Residence, and his lecture was “Peacemaking: From Kindergarten to the Middle East.”

Keynotes

ACR, AFCC, ABA, SCMA, Dispute Resolution Section (Co-Frank Sander Lecturer, and numerous state and organizational conferences).

To hear Woody’s 2011 Keynote at the Association for Conflict Resolution, click here.

Lawyer as Problem Solver Award (American Bar Association)

In 2004, Forrest Mosten received one of the most prestigious award of the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association (click here) In 2007, Mr Mosten was named Co-Chair of the ABA Committee that selects award winners and recommends policy for the ABA Lawyer as Problem Solver Program (click here)

University of California, Riverside

2008 Commencement Address

The College of Arts and Humanities invited Mr. Mosten to deliver the Commencement Address to 5,000 graduates, challenging the graduates to adopt a “Peacemaker Pledge.” To read the full version of the Peacemaker Address, click here.

Forrest S. Mosten Initiative for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

On May 7, 2008, Forrest Mosten delivered the inaugural lecture in this UCR program established in his name, Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution: From Kindergarten to the Middle East. For a full version, powerpoint presentation, and photos of this event, click here.

Southern California Mediation Association / Forrest S. Mosten Conflict Resolution Library Initiative

In 2006, Mr. Mosten keynoted the SCMA Annual Conference. In his honor, SCMA established the SCMA/Forrest S. Mosten Conflict Resolution Library Initiative to provide educational materials about mediation, negotiation, collaborative law, and peacemaking to Non-Profit Institutions throughout Southern California.

National Peacemaking Museum Taskforce (Association for Conflict Resolution)

In 2007, the Association for Conflict Resolution established a National Peacemaker Museum Taskforce and appointed Mr. Mosten to chair this future oriented public educational project. Click here for more information.

Louis M. Brown and Forrest S. Mosten
International Client Counseling Competition (affiliated with the International Bar Association)

After serving as Chair of the UC Client Counseling Committee (1983-85) Mr. Mosten was appointed Executive Chair of this international law school event that involves over 20 countries and teaches future lawyers about interviewing and counseling clients, preventive planning, and appreciation for options to litigation. For 2007 in Australia, click here. For 2008 in India, click here. For the permanent website in England, click here.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of Mr. Mosten’s publications, click here. PDF

Books

(UCLA School of Law and other Training Books and Materials not listed)

Selected Articles

For a complete list of Mr. Mosten’s publications, click here. PDF

Introduction of Forrest S. Mosten by David Hoffman for ABA Lawyer As Problem Solver Award

By David Hoffman (Former Chair, ABA)

Most people know Forrest by the name “Woody”
and probably more people know him for his accomplishments as a mediator and a mediation trainer, than as a lawyer. Woody has written several books on mediation practice. He gives mediation trainings in Los Angeles, elsewhere in the U.S. and overseas. He has founded a network of mediation centers that stretches across the U.S. If you have ever met him, you can tell in 30 seconds that he has a gift for working well with people—a gift that translates into success as a mediator. He has been serving as a mediator for 30 years—he started doing this work before many of us had even heard of mediation. Read More…

© Forrest S. Mosten

Certified Family Law Specialist
Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California