“I'm a proud graduate of Ron Kelly's mediation training.”
- Hon. James McBride, Former Presiding Judge, S.F. Superior Court

“When I took Ron's training, I was impressed he could give us such a broad range of skills in so little time. If you're interested in mediation, take this training.”
- Hon. Russell Roeca, S.F. Superior Court and Past President, Bar Association of San Francisco

“I really consider it the gold standard.”
- Theresa Jones, Former ADR Panel Administrator, Alameda County Superior Court

(Affiliations listed for ID purposes only)


  • In Ron’s widely-acclaimed trainings you'll learn proven step-by-step ways to resolve nearly every kind of dispute. Ron brings you the very best techniques from hundreds of trainings, tested and refined over decades of mediating the toughest cases.
  • His in-depth trainings provide demonstrations, practice sessions, and discussions of real life case studies. Ideal for lawyers, judges, business professionals, managers, and anyone who handles disputes or wants to.
  • He has trained thousands of lawyers, judges, government officials and business professionals on four continents. His training materials are licensed and used around the world in several languages. Judges in every Bay Area Superior Court have chosen to enroll in his trainings.
  • In the mid-1980s, Ron designed and initiated UC Berkeley’s regular mediation training for judges, lawyers, and business professionals. He conducted Berkeley's trainings for the next quarter century, and was named Honored Instructor, the award given to the top 1% of academic staff. Ron now regularly trains arbitrators and mediators through the Bar Association of San Francisco with the co-sponsorship of several other county bar associations. 

“One of the most positive educational experiences of my life. Not only did the class meet the promise of offering me new tools and skills to approach mediation, but it also gave me the courage and practice to address mediation with confidence. If you are an aspiring peacemaker, or simply want to become more effective as one, I can't recommend this class highly enough.”
- Reverend Michael Callahan, Woodacre CA

"Thanks to the skills I learned in your training, I was able to turn around several failing multi-million-dollar businesses in a very short period of time."
- Company President, San Francisco, CA

“Please consider this outstanding opportunity from Ron Kelly, one of the most respected pioneers and scholars in the developing field of mediation. His commercial training is the gold standard among veteran practitioners.”
- Susan Joan Davidson, Mediator, Oakland CA


** Arbitrator Certificate Training - 20 Hours (click here for description)

  • May 4, 11, and 18, 2024 - Live Online Participatory Training - not a webinar - through the Bar Association of San Francisco
    Co-sponsored by the San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma County Bar Associations.
    Discounts for Co-Sponsor Members. Contact BASF to register.
    Satisfies training 
    requirement for BASF's new arbitration panel.

** Mediator Certificate Training - 40 hours (click here for description) 

  • October 5, 12, 19, 26, and November 2, 2024 - Live Online Participatory Training - not a webinar - through the Bar Association of San Francisco
    Co-sponsored by the San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma County Bar Associations.
    Discounts for Co-Sponsor Members. Contact BASF to register.
    Satisfies training 
    requirement for most court and state agency panels.

** Want a Thriving Practice as Mediator or Arbitrator? - 3 hours (click here for description) 

  • Not Yet Scheduled


** Half-Day Advanced Trainings, Other Trainings (please see descriptions below)


Ron has conducted hundreds of dispute resolution trainings for a wide variety of organizations. A partial list of sponsoring organizations is here. Below are descriptions of some of these trainings.

Note - 

Ron’s regular 40-hour mediation certificate training is open to everyone, and has been offered for more than twenty-five years through the Bar Association of San Francisco and formerly through the University of California Berkeley’s Continuing Education in Law Program.

His regular 20-hour arbitration certificate training is also open to everyone, and is offered every year through the Bar Association of San Francisco and many co-sponsoring Bay Area bar associations.

The trainings below on advanced topics have generally been offered through bar associations, courts, and mediation programs.

Contact Ron for trainings to enhance in-house skills, and/or as a fund-raiser for your organization.

Mediation Certificate Training 

In this widely acclaimed intensive 40-hour training, attorneys and business professionals will gain the ability and confidence to resolve almost any dispute, as a mediator, negotiator, or representative. Certificate of completion satisfies training requirements for most court and agency panels. Training includes: 

  • Demonstrations and hands-on practice mediations
  • Small class size and guest lectures from leading practitioners
  • High-emotion conflict management skills
  • Mediation confidentiality and ethics 
  • Drafting binding settlements
  • Complete set of model forms
  • (See more detailed outline here)

Arbitration Certificate Training

Do you want the skill and confidence to settle complex cases in a way that's more final than most court decisions? Do you want to enhance your own credibility as counsel, mediator, or dispute resolver?

Well-represented and sophisticated parties like Fortune 500 companies and professional athletes voluntarily choose arbitration. Why? They know they can choose an arbitrator who really understands their issues. They can shape their own process. Perhaps most importantly, they can actually get a prompt hearing and a final and binding decision. With this training, you can be that arbitrator!

You will learn:

  • The solid legal basis for your broad arbitral powers
  • How to handle and rule on procedural and pre-hearing issues, including unwilling parties, disputed discovery, and issuing subpoenas
  • How to manage the formal hearing, including how to effectively handle belligerent participants and evidentiary challenges
  • The essential elements of writing binding awards settling all issues, including different award formats
  • How to maintain ongoing jurisdiction where necessary 
  • The many opportunities to gain real world experience as an arbitrator
  • Certificate issued on completion

Half-Day Advanced Mediation Trainings

Want a Thriving Practice as Mediator or Arbitrator?
Ron Kelly has helped hundreds of aspiring neutrals become successful mediators and arbitrators. Come learn the proven system you too can use to become a successful neutral, even if you're not sure where to start. Learn Ron's effective formula for shaping your image and outreach, converting contacts into real paying cases, and building your long-term referral network. Sample marketing materials provided.

Is Your Mediation Model Setting You Up for Impasse?
Join us for an advanced training that will give you new tools for successful resolution of your toughest cases. Over the past twenty years, Ron Kelly has attended over two hundred different mediation trainings and workshops. He’s taken the best tools and techniques from numerous different mediation models and tested and refined them in the most challenging cases. Come participate in discussion about how several “impossible” cases were actually resolved through use of advanced techniques from very different models. Share your own best techniques with your colleagues.  Learn new approaches to avoid impasse and achieve resolution in your toughest cases.

Top Five Reasons Your Mediation Will Fail - and How to Avoid Them
What's most likely to kill your success in mediation? How can you equip yourself to handle each of the most common traps? You'll learn key insights from a dozen of the most successful mediators in the Bay Area. Come get the benefit of their combined centuries of experience. 

Turning Failure Into Success: Pulling The Rabbit Out of The Hat
"We got 90% of the way there, but the mediator couldn't bring it home." We all know the way it so often gets really hard at the end. Everyone is tired and has gone as far as they're going to go. They expect you to wave your mediator's magic wand, make the other side be reasonable, and close the final gap. In this session, we'll equip you with that magic wand. 

Getting Them Ready to Settle Before You Meet
Why make your work any harder? If you just accept mediation participants as they arrive, you face a raft of problems all at once. In this session we'll take an in-depth look at all the ways you can ensure they're ready to settle when they walk in the door. We'll also cover advanced methods for your own preparation as mediator. 

Drafting Effective Settlement Agreements
Everyone knows "the Devil's in the details" when it comes to actually nailing down that binding and enforceable written settlement. Participants may seem to agree, only to have it unravel when it comes to hammering out the final deal, especially in more complex disputes.  We'll identify a number of advanced approaches in dealing successfully with this, including using technology. We'll discuss the potential for the mediator's full (paid) involvement in all details of the written settlement, from the very beginning to the very end of the mediation. 

Facing Your Toughest Mediation Challenge
What's the toughest challenge you encounter in your mediations? Come join us to identify new ways to handle your specific challenge. Compare yours with the results of Ron's survey of a hundred experienced Bay Area mediators identifying their toughest challenges. We'll also review highlights of Ron's extensive interviews with five top Bay Area mediators on their toughest challenges and what they do to face them. The wisdom of centuries of experience and tens of thousands of cases are distilled for you in this workshop. 

Distance Mediation - You Don't Have to Travel, and No One Else Does Either
Would you like to mediate from anywhere you are? Would you like to mediate with parties and counsel spread around the country or the planet, and never have anyone need to travel? You can. There can even be a lot of major benefits to this approach. We'll analyze several case studies of successful mediations where no one ever got together physically or even spoke directly with each other. We'll also explore using online meeting technologies in your mediations. 

How Are You With Mental Health Problems in Your Mediation Practice?
If one of your mediation participants could not see, or could not hear, you'd likely explore what changes in your normal process might be needed. More often than we realize, there are hidden mental health challenges in those we work with that can block resolution. Ever had clients who suddenly explode in rage, or really could not see any point of view but their own, or could not make a decision, or showed other significant impairments? In this program, we'll identify and discuss candidly how you can be more effective in handling the hidden mental health problems we so often encounter in our mediations.

Other Trainings Conducted 

Thirty-Minute Mediation
So many fights involve family members, coworkers, business partners, neighbors - people with ongoing relationships. In this workshop, you’ll learn an amazingly effective mediation process you can use to help resolve these disputes in half an hour. You’ll see the process demonstrated on a real dispute, and use it yourself in a direct experiential exercise. 

Will Your Mediation Stay Confidential?
Do you assure your mediation participants that everything is confidential? Can you back that up? What about all the information not protected by confidentiality statutes?  As a mediator, you’re always working with sensitive information. The same key information will be used as either 1) the main weapon in a court battle or 2) the central tool for resolution in your mediation. Learn how to be an effective guardian of the process and participants' rights.

How will you respond to a court-ordered subpoena? Want to know why a court may throw out the settlement agreement you think is final? Want to know about current challenges to confidentiality? Are there cases when it’s a tough ethical decision on what to report?  This workshop will be presented by one of the principal architects of California mediation law.

Mediating When Time is Short
Do you ever feel pressured for time in your mediations? In this training you'll gain new skills you can use in a wide range of time-pressured situations. In the morning you'll learn and practice a unique and astonishingly effective thirty-minute process for mediating disputes between neighbors, coworkers, family members and others with ongoing relationships. In the afternoon you'll gain insights and understanding of three different major skill sets and approaches to larger scale mediations with looming deadlines like trial dates and discovery cutoffs. 

“Binding Mediation” - Dream or Nightmare?
In both the Bowers and Lindsay decisions, the California Court of Appeal upheld a “binding mediation” process. 

For twenty years Ron Kelly has campaigned hard in the Legislature against the concept of “binding  mediation”. He played a major role in enacting numerous statutes protecting mediation parties from coerced settlements, and protecting their rights to refuse any proposed mediated settlement and walk. In 1997, he helped get legislation introduced that would have clearly regulated med/arb, and he still supports its adoption.

The first med/arb Ron tried to conduct twenty years ago was a farce. Yet over the years he was repeatedly asked to serve as both mediator and arbitrator in the same dispute. Ron eventually found that a carefully conducted and specialized form of med/arb provided major benefits with minimal risks. He now recommends it to nearly all his clients.

Can you really ethically combine mediation and arbitration? Should you? Join us for a lively discussion of the serious hazards of med/arb, and the ways Ron believes you may be able to offer your clients the best of both worlds.

Writing ADR Law - A Step-By-Step Guide to Forming and Advocating Sound Public Policy Protecting the Integrity of ADR

Various Trainings of Fact-Finders, Administrative Hearing Examiners, Neutral Hearing Officers, Code Enforcement Officers, Negotiation Consultants.

Mediator Certificate Training - More Detailed Outline

General Description: This training mixes live demonstrations and discussions, analysis of video examples of different aspects of mediation, and hands-on practice exercises. Participants will be involved in several simulated mediations to practice their skills and receive feedback.

Outline of topics covered:

  1. Overview
    • Core Concepts Of Mediation
    • Common Types And Styles Of Mediation
    • Common Issue Areas In Civil Mediations
    • Working With Different Common Participants
    • Mediation As Conflict Management
    • Mediation As Dispute Resolution
  2. Dynamics of Human Conflict
    • Understanding Structures Which Maintain Conflict and Contest
    • The Shift From Blaming To Active Cooperation
  3. Conflict Management in Mediation
    • Handling Initial Contacts
    • How to Recognize and Defuse Potentially Explosive Situations
    • Physical Components of Confrontation
    • Conflict Assessment and Preparing Parties for Mediation
    • CM Strategies for Face-to-Face Processes
    • CM Challenges in Implementation of Settlements
  4. Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Mediation - Binding Agreements
    • Working with Attorneys, Claims Professionals, and Other Representatives
    • Voluntary Agreements To Mediate
    • Contract Clauses Requiring Mediation
    • Legally-Binding Voluntary Settlements
  5. Dispute Resolution in Mediation
    • Conceptual Framework
    • What Needs To Be Done Before The Meeting
    • Upfront Structuring Of The Hearing Or Meeting
    • Strategies For Building Voluntary Settlements In Mediation Hearings
    • Specific Techniques For Mediators
    • What To Look Out For
  6. Mediation Ethics
    • National Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators - SPIDR, AAA, ABA
    • California Participants’ Rights Statement
    • California Rules of Court - Rules of Conduct in Court-Connected Mediations
  7. Protecting Sensitive Information - Confidentiality in Mediation
    • Overview And History In California
    • Issues In Practice
    • California Statutes and Appellate Law - Legal Protections
    • Ethical Questions Related to Mediation Information
  8. Setting Up Dispute Resolution Systems
    • Design, Ethical, and Public Policy Question


Ron Kelly has developed conflict resolution trainings and presentations for programs sponsored by the following organizations (partial list):

Bar Associations of:

Alameda • Contra Costa • Los Angeles • Marin • Napa • Sacramento • San Francisco • San Mateo • Santa Barbara • Santa Clara • Solano and Sonoma Counties • the State Bar of California • and the American Bar Association

Dispute Resolution Organizations:

American Arbitration Association • Association for Conflict Resolution • Bay Area Ombuds Forum • Berkeley Dispute Resolution Services • Brazilian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce • Brazilian Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution • Calif. Association of Community Mediation Programs • Calif. Caucus of College and University Ombuds • Calif. Dispute Resolution Council • Center for Dispute Resolution • Community Boards • Community Mediation Program of Santa Barbara • Conciliation Forums of Oakland • Conciliation Trainers • CONCUR • Conflict Resolution International • Indian Dispute Resolution Services • Mediation Services • Mediation Society • National Institute for Mediation and Arbitration (Brazil) • Northern Calif. Mediation Association • Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center • Placer Dispute Resolution Service • Russian-American Program on Conflictology • San Diego Mediation Center • SEEDS Community Resolution Center • Southern Calif. Mediation Association • Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution

Governmental Entities :

Cities of San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro and Fremont • State of California/ Administrative Office of the Courts, Contractors’ State License Board & Department of Consumer Affairs • San Francisco and Monterey Superior Courts • United States Department of State/USAID

Universities and Colleges:

Stanford Law School • University of California Berkeley • California State Universities at Humboldt and at Sacramento • University of San Francisco - Schools of Law and Business • Pepperdine University School of Law • Golden Gate University - Schools of Law and Psychology • J.F.K. University • Laney College • D.Q. University • Southern Illinois University School of Law • St. Petersburg (Russia) State University

Professional Associations and Organizations:

American Institute of Architects/East Bay Chapter • American Society of Home Inspectors/Golden Gate Chapter • Associated General Contractors of Calif. • California Federation of Interpreters • Calif. Real Estate Inspectors Association • Calif. Resource Recovery Association • Calif. Society of Certified Public Accountants • Construction Specifications Institute/S. F., East Bay, & Sacramento Chapters • Electrical Contractor’s Trust of Sonoma-Napa Counties • Journal of Light Construction • Lawrence Livermore Laboratory • Lockheed-Martin/Sandia National Laboratories • National Association of the Remodeling Industry/Bay Area Chapter • National Electrical Contractors Association of Northern Calif. • Nor. Calif. Piping Contractors’ Assn. • Oakland Development Council • Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors of Alameda and Contra Costa County • Plumbers and Gasfitters Union Local 444 • Splinter Group • Tools of the Trade • The Trades Guild • and the Berkeley, Oakland, Bay East, North San Mateo, San Francisco, and West Contra Costa Associations of Realtors