About the Founders

Laurel Kaufer

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Laurel was honored by California Lawyer Magazine as a California Attorney of the Year in 2011 for her work with rison of Peace. She has been recognized as one of Southern California's "Best Lawyers" in the field of Alternate Dispute Resolution, in 2010 and 2011 by U.S. News & World Report, Laurel Kaufer, transitioned from litigation to full-time neutral practice in 1995. Kaufer, a Mediator and Arbitrator with ARC in Los Angeles, CA, is the chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution of the California State Bar Association, a Diplomat of both the California and National Academies of Distinguished Neutrals, and teaches in the Certificate Program for Mediation and Dispute Resolution at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Kaufer served for years on the Boards of the Southern California Mediation Association and Ventura County Dispute Services. 

A leader in any profession is expected, not only to practice with credibility and expertise, but also enhance the profession through a consistent exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as open up new frontiers of practice.  Kaufer’s commitment to public service has been a natural part of her career.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Kaufer founded the Mississippi Mediation Project to provide Conflict Resolution resources in hard hit areas of the state, strengthening their physical, cultural and economic renewal.  A long-time consumer advocate on health insurance issues, Kaufer has recently taken her advocacy to a new level, promoting the use of appropriate conflict resolution systems in diplomatic and public policy arenas, through her participation in COP 15, the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009, working on legislation creating a pre-foreclosure Mediation process in response to the housing crisis, as well as continuing her work in health-care,both as an independent consumer advocate and as an advisor to The Margolin Group.

Doug Noll

photo-float Doug Noll is an acclaimed advanced mediation advocacy and legal negotiation skills trainer. As a mediator, he specializes in mediating difficult, complex, and intractable conflicts. Since his first meditation in 1983, he has conducted over 1,500 mediations, both litigated and non-litigated.

In addition to his law degree, Doug has a Masters Degree in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. Mr. Noll is AV-rated and was a business and commercial trial lawyer for 22 years before becoming a full-time mediator.

He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Mediators, a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a panel member of the Agency for Dispute Resolution, a panel member of the California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and on the American Arbitration Association panel of mediators and arbitrators. Mr. Noll was one of the first U.S. mediators certified under the international mediator standards established by the International Mediation Institute. He is listed in the Who’s Who of International Commercial Mediators.

Doug is currently the president of the California Dispute Resolution Council, a post he has held since 2012.

Along with Laurel, Doug was honored by California Lawyer Magazine as California Attorneys of the Year in 2012 for their pro bono Prison of Peace project. Doug has also been honored as a 2014 Lawyer of the Year by BestLawyers.com

He is the creator of Negotiation Mastery for the Legal Pro, an on-line legal negotiation training course.
He is the author of Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus Books, April 2011). Elusive Peace was the winner of the Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) International Peace and Justice Book Award for 2011.

In addition, Doug is the author of Sex, Politics & Religion at the Office: The New Competitive Advantage (Auberry Press 2006), with John Boogaert, and Peacemaking: Practicing at the Intersection of Law and Human Conflict (Cascadia 2002). He has written numerous articles on peacemaking, negotiation, restorative justice, conflict resolution and mediation. He is a trainer, lecturer, and continuing education panelist.

Doug has been voted as one of the Best Lawyers in America since 2005 by US News & World Report and has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer.

Doug is host of the radio show The Doug Noll Show that streams live on wsRadio.com Thursday evenings at 7 pm Pacific. Doug's teaching affiliations include:

  • Adjunct Professor of Law, San Joaquin College of Law
  • Core Faculty, American Institute of Mediation
  • Faculty Member, Advanced Professional Skills Development Program, Straus Institute, Pepperdine School of Law
  • Co-Founder and Academic Director, Prison of Peace Project
  • California and Florida approved MCLE provider
  • Keynote speaker and independent trainer

Doug is also a second degree black belt in Chinese kung fu and has taught tai chi for over 10 years. He has a variety of other interests and accomplishments including certification as a Level III ski instructor, instrument-rated private pilot with multi-engine and helicopter ratings, a jazz violinist, and a whitewater rafter.