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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

The Ball’s in Your Court: Now What? New San Francisco Superior Court Rules Will Affect the Game


You may have already heard…new San Francisco Superior Court Local Rules are in effect as of July 1, 2012. There are numerous changes throughout with significant changes made to Rule 4, regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the court’s attachment to The Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Early Settlement Program (ESP). In a nutshell, ADR is now voluntary for cases. Although the use of ADR is strongly encouraged by the court, the court will not order matters to any form of ADR, except Judicial Arbitration.

However, BASF’s Early Settlement Program will still carry on and remains available for cases, as is BASF’s Mediation Services Program.

Under the new Rule, the court will, (a) set your case for judicial arbitration or, (b) set it for trial – the court will no longer track or enforce the use of ADR. However, parties may still utilize the highly successful ESP program, where you benefit from the unique points of view of a plaintiff-side lawyer and a defense-side lawyer whose years of litigation experience make their opinions on your case extremely useful. BASF’s program has been settling cases since 1986 with a success rate of 78 percent. BASF is proud of the 97 percent satisfaction rate reported by participants, and the cost to use the service is extremely reasonable. The ESP program has a $250 administrative fee per party (for multi-party disputes there is a cap on this fee; also the fee is waived for those that qualify) and a panel of over 300 experienced litigation attorneys who volunteer two hours or more per case.

For more information on the program and how to request ESP, go to

Another option is private mediation, and BASF has a great panel of experienced private mediators available through its Mediation Services Program ( The mediation program, now in its sixth year and voted one of the top ADR Providers in 2010 and 2011 in The Recorder’s “Best” survey, is also an incredible value with a $250 administrative fee that covers the first hour of the mediator’s preparation time and the first two hours of mediation; time beyond that is at the mediator’s hourly rate. The BASF website has mediator biographies, photographs and hourly rates; you may request a specific mediator or staff can assist in the selection.
BASF is committed to serving the bar, the community, and the court by offering high quality ADR services resulting in the settlement of many cases and freeing up the court’s trial calendar.

For more information or if you have questions, please call 415-782-9000 x8713 or email

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