Forrest (Woody) Mosten

Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Certified Family Law Specialist

Articles featuring Forrest S. Mosten

Interview with Woody on The Doug Noll Show

Part I: Ever wonder what a legend looks and sounds like? We hear about these amazing human beings and rarely have the chance to talk with them let alone have them share their stories and journeys with us. One of the great things about being a radio host is that I get to seek out legends for all of us to talk with. This show features one such legend. Forrest "Woody" Mosten is a mediator, collaborative attorney, author, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law who is in high demand as a keynote conference speaker and conflict resolution trainer throughout the world. Named as a Los Angeles Super Lawyer in Family Law and Mediation, Woody maintains an active practice as a family lawyer and never goes to court. As a disclaimer, I will also tell you that Woody and I are core faculty members of the American Institute of Mediation. Doug asks Woody to tell a little bit about his personal journey. Woody tells us that he started as a founding member of Jacoby and Myers in 1972. The concept behind the firm was to provide storefront legal services for the middle class. The firm opened in September 1972, but in November 1972, the firm received a letter from the California State Bar saying that it was being charged with ethical violations. The State Bar ultimately suspended Jacoby and Meyers for 45 days. However, in the end, the suspension was overturned by the California Supreme Court, and the justices ruled the Jacoby and Mayer were acting in the highest principles of the legal profession in trying to provide access to legal services to the middle class.

Part II: Woody says that he was not suspended by the State Bar because he was not yet a lawyer. He had graduated from law school in the spring of 1972 and sat for the July 1972 bar exam. Although he had passed the bar, he was not admitted into practice until December of 1972. Doug and Woody talk about the recent article by California Supreme Court Justice Ron George, stating the need for unbundled legal services and better access to legal services for the middle class. Woody tells the story of a case involving two women who were arrested for being topless on a Los Angeles beach. Woody defended the women before then trial judge Ron George. Judge George found that women technically guilty, but find them $25 total, payable one dollar per week. Doug asks Woody to talk a little bit about collaborative law. Woody says that collaborative law is a dream come true for him. It is a new way of being for lawyers who have been trained in adversary ideology, but do not care for the contentiousness of that ideology. In a family law setting, the clients sign a contract along with the lawyers representing them. The contract says that if the parties do not settle the case or if anyone wants to go to court, the current lawyers must be discharged, and everyone must hire new workers to start over again.

Part III: Collaborative law started with a lawyer in Minneapolis, Stu Webb. Webb found that families were often poorer and more conflicted than before they began divorce proceedings in court. Webb encouraged some colleagues to form a study group, and they agreed on some ground rules. They agreed that in divorces in which they were representing parties, there would be no court appearances, there would be full disclosure of all information, there would treat each other with mutual respect, and the goal would be to solve problems. This was a hugely successful experiment. It turns out that the vast majority of people prefer to go to lawyers who will not go to court and will help them solve problems. Woody tells us about Roy Disney's divorce. Woody represented Roy, who was both a friend and client. The family wanted a confidential process, and collaborative law was perfect for them. Woody tells us that divorce does not require that family privacy be violated, and that people can get what they need without undue antagonism through a collaborative law agreement.

Part IV: Doug asks Woody about his latest article, Lawyer as Peacemaker. How does peacemaking differ from mediation or case settlement? Woody says that is when we engage in peacemaking, we are helping people go beyond the symptoms of the conflict to a deeper place emotionally and spiritually. Peacemaking is a learning process, a reflective process, and an engaged process to help people make their lives better. Lawyers have a great opportunity to be peacemakers for clients, and those lawyers that engage in it derive great satisfaction from their work. Doug asks Woody about his new book, Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Helping Families without Going to Court. Woody said that he felt that there needed to be a book that would help integrate mediation, unbundled legal services, and legal representation of families and divorce into one volume. In addition, many different kinds of professionals are becoming involved in collaborative law, and they need a reference book to give them background on what collaborative law is all about.

Article Excerpts

The following article excerpts by Forrest S. Mosten are of interest to lawyers, therapists, mediators and other professionals. A full list of Mr. Mosten's publications is available upon request.

“The family lawyers of the 21st Century must be able to wear different hats and offer services ranging from full-service lawyer to consulting lawyer to document reviewer to negotiation coach. Mediation, above all, is about client control. Unless lawyers offer clients choices in terms of their representation, family lawyers will soon find more and more people deciding to exercise the ultimate in control: not hiring a lawyer at all.”

“The Lawyer's Role During Agreement Making”
American Journal of Family Law, Spring 1997

“The Confidential Mini-Evaluation (CME) can be utilized in place of or in addition to the traditional custody evaluation and give parents and children the benefits of the evaluation without the cost, acrimony, time or possible risks to the family of the traditional evaluation.”

“Confidential Mini-Evaluation”
Family and Conciliation Court Review, 1992

“The notion of a lawyer and therapist working together to co-mediate divorce agreements has created much excitement in professional circles - particularly among therapists. As a practicing lawyer-therapist team, we share this enthusiasm and wholeheartedly support the concept of co-mediation in appropriate situations.”

“The Role of the Therapist in the Co-Mediation of Divorce:
An Exploration by a Lawyer-Mediator Team”
with Dr. Barbara Biggs, Journal of Divorce, Winter 1985/86

“As mediation matures into an institutionalized profession, demand is increasing for customized training and supervision. ... Individual supervision offers several benefits. By “buying“ the supervisor's time and focus, the trainee is more assured of receiving ongoing reflective customized input on professional strengths and weaknesses.”

“Individual Supervision and Mediation Self-Survey”
Family Mediation Training, 1997

“A mediator who fails to test and challenge the parties and their lawyers may be well-liked by the parties but may not necessarily guide them to a concrete settlement.”

“Muscle Mediation”
The San Francisco Recorder,
July 31, 1996

“Clients want more power over their own lives and to be full and active participants in solving their own problems. In short, they want to be in control and want their lawyers to be resources in helping clients translate that control into effective and satisfying results.”

“Emerging Roles of the Family Lawyer”
Family and Conciliation Courts Review April 1995

“Preventive mediation permits both partners and their children to participate in a more relaxed, empowering atmosphere, and allows them to address issues that go beyond a typical pre-marital agreement.”

“Preventive Mediation in Blended Families”
ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine, 1996

“The legal wellness check-up is an unbundled service product that can be used by family lawyers to improve the legal health of clients at every stage of representation.”

“Preventing Future Conflicts Through Legal Wellness Check-Ups”
Preventive Law Reporter, Fall 1996

“Millions of Americans who feel the symptoms of legal disease either live with their problem or resolve it in some manner without ever entering a lawyer's office.”

“Unbundling Legal Services”
Oregon State Bar Bulletin, January 1997

Selected Publications

Selected Publications of Forrest S. Mosten (May 2018)


  • Building a Successful Collaborative Practice (with Adam Cordover).
    ABA Book Publishing (October,2018).
  • Family Lawyer's Guide to Unbundling Legal Services (with Elizabeth Potter Scully).
    ABA Book Publishing (2017).
  • The Complete Guide to Mediation (with Elizabeth Potter Scully).
    2nd ed. ABA Book Publishing (2015). Prior Edition, 1st: 1997
  • Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Helping Families Without Going to Court.
    Jossey-Bass (2009).
  • Mediation Career Guide: A Strategic Approach to Building a Successful Practice.
    Jossey-Bass (2001).
  • Unbundling Legal Services: A Guide to Delivering Legal Services à la Carte.
    American Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section (2000).

Articles and Chapters

  • Educating The New Lawyer: Teaching Lawyers to Offer Unbundling and Other Client Centric Services,
    Dickinson Law Review (July 2018)
  • Interdisciplinary Teamwork in Family Law (with Lara Traum),
    Hostra Law Review (July 2018)
  • Representing Clients in Family Mediation,
    Los Angeles County Bar Symposium Book (2018)
  • The Family Lawyer's Role in Preventive Legal and Conflict Wellness (with Lara Traum),
    55 Family Court Review 26 (2017).
  • Working with Your Spouse’s Lawyer,
    ABA Family Law Advocate
  • It Takes a Village: Using Seniors to Help Divorcing Families (with Lara Traum),
    17 Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution 767 (2016).
  • Representing Clients Effectively in Family Mediation (with Elizabeth Potter Scully),
    Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
    (Summer, 2016)
  • Late Nights and Cancellation Rights (with Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis and Elizabeth Potter Scully),
    California State Bar Family Law News (2016)
  • The Future of Mediation: 20 Predictions for 2030, (2015)
  • The Uncertainty of Mediation Confidentiality in California (with Hon. Thomas Trent Lewis and Elizabeth Potter Scully),
    California AFCC News, (2015)
  • Unbundled Legal Services to Enhance Peacemaking,
    Family Court Review
    (July 2015)
  • Mediator Settlement Proposals,
    Association for Conflict Resolution Commercial Section Newsletter
    (Summer, 2015)
  • Unbundle Your Law Practice,
    Association of Family and Conciliation Courts News
    (April 2015)
  • The Lawyer as Collaborative and Preventive Peacemaker, Reinventing the Practice of Law,
    In Herrera, Innovations in the Practice of Law
    (ABA, 2014)
  • Beyond Mediation Toward Peacemaking.
    Association for Conflict Resolution Magazine
    (Fall, 2014)
  • Unbundling in 2014: Recommendations for the Courts
    ABA Judge’s Journal
    (Winter, 2014)
  • Unbundled Legal Services Today–and Predictions for the Future
    ABA Family Law Advocate
    Vol. 35, No. 2, Fall 2012, p. 14-21
  • Using Mediation Stories to Improve the Teaching of Conflict Resolution,
    34 Cardozo Law Review 2455 (2013). Full Text
  • Family Lawyering: Past, Present and Future (with John Lande)
    Family Court Review (2013)
  • Tips for Lawyers Using Mediation for Their Own Personal Disputes
    Los Angeles Daily Journal
    , May 16, 2012
  • Unbundled Legal Services Today – And Predictions for the Future,
    Family Advocate 14 (2012).
  • The Future of Collaborative Practice: A Vision for 2030,
    Family Court Review 282 (2011).
  • Guest Editor's Introduction,
    Family Court Review 211 (2011).
  • Confidentiality in Mediation,
    California Lawyer 32 (2011).
  • Confidential Mini Child-custody Evaluations: Another ADR Option,
    Family Law Quarterly 119 (2011).
  • Editor's Introduction to Family Court Review's Special Issue on Collaborative Practice
    Family Court Review, No. 2, April 2011, p.211
  • Future of Collaborative Practice: Vision for 2030
  • Disputant Autonomy and Power Imbalance (with Bill Eddy)
    Waldman, Legal Ethics (2011)
  • Collaborative Lawyers' Duties to Screen the Appropriateness of Collaborative Law and Obtain Clients' Informed Consent to Use Collaborative Law (with John Lande),
    Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 347 (2010).
  • Building a Successful Law Practice Without Ever Going to Court (Forrest S. Mosten, GPSOLO),
    The Best Articles Published by the ABA (Sept. 2010)
  • Before You Take a Collaborative Law Case: What the Ethical Rules Say about Conflicts of Interest, Client Screening, and Informed Consent (with John Lande)
    Family Advocate 31 (2010).
  • Lawyer as Peacemaker: Ethical and Innovative Practice Roles,
    Family Law Quarterly 489 (2009).
  • The Uniform Collaborative Law Act's Contribution To Informed Client Decision Making In Choosing A Dispute Resolution Process (with John Lande),
    Hofstra Law Review 611 (2009).
  • Introduction,
    2009 ACResolution Magazine 3-5 (Spring 2009). Special Issue.
  • Marketing Our Practices,
    2009 ACResolution Magazine 3-5 (Spring 2009).
  • Collaborative Law Practice: An Unbundled Approach to Informed Client Decision Making,
    Journal of Dispute Resolution 163 (2008).
  • Unbundling Legal Services to Help Divorcing Families, in Innovations in Family Law Practice
    (edited by K. B. Olson and N. Ver Steegh, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, 2008).
  • Collaborative Law Practice: An Unbundled Approach to Informed Client Decision Making,
    Journal of Dispute Resolution 163 (2008).
  • Unbundling Legal Services to Help Divorcing Families, in Innovations in Family Law Practice (edited by K. B. Olson and N. Ver Steegh),
    Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (2008).
  • The Potential of the Family Law Education Reform Project for Family Lawyers,
    Family Court Review 5 (2007).
  • Secrets to Successful Mediation Practice,
    ABA Dispute Resolution Just Resolutions
    (Summer/Fall 2007). Parts 1, 2 and 3. ABA
  • Where to Locate Your Mediation Practice,
    ABA Dispute Resolution Just Resolutions (Spring 2007).
  • The Path of the Peacemaker: A Mediator's Guide to Peacemaking,
    ACResolution Magazine 8-11 (2006).
  • Advanced Mediator Moves (with D. Mercer),
    Association for Conflict Resolution Family Section News 6-11 (Fall 2006). ACR Family Section, Parts I and II.
  • Intake Should Be Your Primary Marketing Strategy,
    Just Resolutions
    1, 3 (Jan. 2006). American Bar Association Dispute Resolution.
  • Using Your Duty to Inform as a Marketing Tool
  • Institutionalization of Mediation,
    Family Court Review 292 (2004).
  • Unbundling Legal Services: Servicing Clients Within Their Ability to Pay,
    American Bar Association Judge's Journal
    15 (Winter 2001).
  • Peacemaking Can Be Your Day Job,
    SPIDR Newsletter 1 (2000).
  • The Lawyer's Role During Agreement-Making,
    American Journal of Family Law 13 (1997).
  • Emerging Roles of the Family Lawyer: A Challenge for the Courts,
    Family and Conciliation Court Review 213 (1995).
  • Unbundled Legal Services in Mediation,
    ADR Report
    (Nov. 1999).
  • Unbundling Your Mediation Services,
    ADR Report 3-6 (1999).
  • Operating a Profitable Mediation Practice.
    Mosten Mediation Training
  • Recent Developments in Mediation,
    LACBA News and Review of Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section
    16-18 (Summer 1998b).
  • Written Mediation Agreements and Settlement Stipulations,
    DRS Newsletter
    (LA County Bar) 7-8 (Fall 1998c).
  • Our Own Communication Is Important Too (with J. Kichaven),
    Southern California Mediation Association News 4 (Nov. 1997).
  • Eleven Questions Most Commonly Asked About Mediation,
    Fair Share: The Matrimonial Law Monthly 5-7 (1997).
  • Mediation in Divorce Cases: Two Views (with P. Gangel-Jacob),
    Trial Magazine 43-44 (Aug. 1997).
  • Preventing Future Conflict Through Legal Wellness Check-Ups,
    Preventive Law Reporter
    12-15 (Fall 1996).
  • Unbundling Legal Services,
    International Legal Practitioner 42-45 (June 1996).
  • Preventive Mediation in Blended Families, 3(1)
    Dispute Resolution Magazine 16 (1996). American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section.
  • The Client Library: Law Firm's Preventive Law Classroom,
    Preventive Law Reporter
    (Fall 1995).
  • Coaching the Pro Se Litigant,
    American Bar Association Complete Lawyer
    1-8 (Winter, 1995).
  • Client Centered Consultation and ADR (with R.S. Redmount),
    International Legal Practitioner 28-34 (Mar. 1995).
  • Louis M. Brown: His Work in Preventive Law Receives Long Awaited Recognition,
    Preventive Law Reporter
    30-31 (June 1994).
  • Unbundling of Legal Services and the Family Lawyer,
    Family Law Quarterly 421 (Fall 1994).
  • The Lawyer As Dispute Resolution Manager,
    Family Law News and Review 5-8 (1994).
  • Avoiding Trial in Family Law: ADR Options and Methods,
    Los Angeles Lawyer
    45-48 (Sept. 1993).
  • The Case for a National Legal Health Strategy (with T.H. Gonser),
    Preventive Law Reporter 31-32 (Summer 1993).
  • Mediation and Prevention of Business Disputes,
    Beverly Hills Bar Journal
    105-008 (Summer 1993).
  • Mediation Makes Sense: How to Prevent an International Crisis,
    ABA Family Advocate
    44-45 (Spring 1993).
  • Confidential Mini-Evaluation,
    Family Court Review 373 (1992).
  • The Violent Family: Part II Intervention Strategies for the Family Lawyer (with N. Kaser-Boyd),
    Family Law News 4-7 (1992).
  • Lou Brown: Preventive Law and World Harmony,
    Preventive Law Reporter
    2-3 (Dec. 1991).
  • The Violent Family: Psychological Dynamics and Their Effect on the Lawyer-Client Relationship (with N. Kaser-Boyd),
    Family Law News 17, 28 (1991).
  • The Duty to Explore Settlement: Beyond Garris v. Severson,
    California State Bar Family Law News
    25, 40-42 (1989).
  • The Consulting Lawyer in Private Divorce Mediation: Sample Client Retainer Letter and Discussion,
    LA County Bar Family Law News and Review
    6-9 (1989).
  • Preventive Planning in the Resolution of Dispute,
    Denver Law Review
    441-42 (1988).
  • The Option of Private Family Law Mediation (with S.E. Wasserstrom),
    Beverly Hills Bar Journal
    118-22 (Spring 1987).
  • How to Provide Legal Services to Middle Income Clients Profitably,
    State Bar of California
  • The Role of the Therapist in the Co-Mediation of Divorce: An Exploration by a Lawyer-Therapist Team (with B. Biggs),
    Journal of Divorce 27 (1985).
  • Introduction of Special Issue on Client Counseling,
    Creighton Law Review 1329 (1985).

© Forrest S. Mosten

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