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Wattenberg Mediation Service

Actively litigating for over 26 years and mediating since 2005

 It is our goal to provide an effective alternative in Chico and the North State that is understanding and compassionate and reasonably priced. No longer will it be necessary to go to Sacramento or pay Bay Area prices to have quality mediation.

Law Office of Stephan R. Wattenberg

What is Mediation?

     Mediation is a process that as an alternative to litigation, or as an adjunct to litigation, provides the parties to an actual or potential dispute to fashion their own remedy with the assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator. Some describe the mediator as a disinterested third party but I do not believe that is the case. To be an effective mediator I strive to understand all parties positions and am greatly interested in achieving a result that while not everything either party wants is probably better than what can be achieved by mechanically applying the law to the facts.

    In mediation we look for what the parties really need to achieve, what is actually within the range of possibilities and working together how to get there. In my experience many participants find that after mediation they have a better understanding of their case, how they got there and where they are going. Because we are not bound by the strict interpretation of the law or the rules of evidence and civil procedure we can work together towards a solution that is better suited to the needs of the participants than what the court can order. In addition, I as the mediator, am not an advocate for either party and can freely point out the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Law Office of Stephan R. Wattenberg

Why Mediation?

 Mediation is your best opportunity to resolve a dispute on your own terms. Frequently because not all of the issues in a dispute are of a legal nature mediation allows you to globally resolve everything underlying the conflict and get to the matters root causes. Litigation is also expensive both in money, time and emotion. The mediation process is less stressful than a trial and by resolving disputes earlier the parties can get on with their lives which in the long run is in everyone’s interest, whether they know it going in or not. Often the litigants who are the most resistant to negotiations are in the end the most enthusiastic about the result because they have avoided the stress, uncertainty and expense of going to trial while at the same time solving underlying problems and that may even preserve an important relationship.
     Many cases are ordered to mediation by the court. This is because it lightens the load on the judge but also because it leads to a greater understanding of and satisfaction with the process generally. This is to the benefit of the attorneys who as litigators are often reluctant to point out the warts on a case. The mediator as a neutral can do this without antagonizing the client.
Many disputes benefit from early, pre-litigation mediation. This is especially the case with employment, business, consumer, real estate and community situations where a third party facilitating communication can prevent problems from festering and getting out of hand. Often the act of communication, with the help of a trained and experienced third party, can bring a very real dispute to resolution to everyone’s benefit.


Stephan R. Wattenberg


   Steve Wattenberg has had an active litigation practice since 1996. Before that he held a range of jobs including Special Education Instructor, Millman, Underground Construction and Teamster. While overwhelmingly, presenting Plaintiffs in litigation the pressures of case selection and evaluation as well as a varied background enable him to see every case form both sides, a critical ability in mediation.
     For over 15 years he has been a part time mediator having completed the Pepperdine and Rosenberg training programs. He served as a superior court appointed mediator, a special master and since 2005 has had contracts to mediate small claims, unlawful detainer and civil harassment cases in Butte County. In the process he has mediated more than 500 cases with an over 90% success rate. For the past six years he has been a Temporary Appointed Judge hearing small claims cases in Butte County. As anyone who has been around the courthouse knows, if you can settle contentious civil harassment and small claims cases, you can settle anything. With this diverse background and perspective can bring a unique and effective approach to settling your case.
     Steve Wattenberg's approach to mediation is a result of his experience as a litigator and negotiator. Just as in litigation success in mediation depends upon preparation. Understand the facts. Understand the law. Understand the personalities involved and what they want to achieve. From this basis and dealing respectfully the mediator can help litigants see what is achievable and how this can meet their goals. Over the years Steve Wattenberg has found that the mediator is often better positioned to help a litigant realistically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a case; even more so than the attorney who is deeply immersed and committed to his/her clients cause. This second look is needed to see what can be won or lost at trial and what the real costs are.

Email : Tel: (530) 342-8930


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