Improvisational Negotiation. This phrase summarizes Krivis’ philosophy for a successful and dynamic mediated negotiation. A successful mediation needs both keen legal insight gained from years of litigation experience and cannot be scripted.
Exploring this idea with further study led Krivis to venture on the stage as a stand-up comedian. Ultimately, he authored a book entitled Improvisational Negotiation: A Mediator’s Stories of Conflict About Love, Money and Anger – and the Strategies that Resolved Them (Wiley/Jossey-Bass 2006). This book received the 2006 Outstanding Book Award from the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution.
Krivis began his mediation practice in 1989 breaking open a niche in the Southern California dispute resolution landscape. He crafted a process that sets the stage for successful resolution. Through improvising, harmonizing, and always closing, he has resolved thousands of disputes including wage and hour and consumer class actions, entertainment, mass tort, employment, business, complex insurance, product liability and wrongful death matters.
Dedicated to improving the field of alternative dispute resolution, Krivis regularly shares his expertise in negotiation and mediation skills to lawyers and judges. He has been a long serving adjunct professor at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and serves on the advisory council of the Monterey Law School.
Another popular book he penned is How To Make Money As A Mediator And Create Value For Everyone
(Wiley/Jossey-Bass 2006) and he is a contributing author to the book Stories Mediators Tell, published in 2012 by the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution. As a recognized thought leader, his byline appears on many articles and commentaries on mediation trends and best practices.
Krivis is a past president of both the International Academy of Mediators and the Southern California Mediation Association, and served as a Council Member of the Section on Dispute Resolution for the ABA. He has received several awards from a variety of associations and publications including being named a “Power Mediator” in the entertainment industry by The Hollywood Reporter. His peers have voted him “Super Lawyer” every year since inception in the Thomas Reuters publication. He has also been named “Mediator of the Year” several times by the “Best Lawyer” publication. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Krivis practices primarily in Southern California, San Francisco and Monterey, California. He enjoys golf, photography, and music including blues guitar, jazz, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles. Recently, he made a pilgrimage to Liverpool to revel in the birthplace of the Beatles. He lives in Southern California with his wife Amy. He has two married daughters and two grandchildren.
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Books and Publications
Mr. Krivis is the author of two books published by Wiley/Jossey Bass:
In addition, click here for a list of articles and guides published by Mr. Krivis in the area of alternative dispute resolution.
Previous Workshops and Presentations
Mr. Krivis has presented dispute resolution programs for superior court judges, corporations, federal agencies, insurance companies, law firms and trade associations. The programs include:
- Mediation Styles and Processes, The Winkler Institute, Toronto, Canada (May 2019)
- Mediation Advocacy Workshops (Monterey Law School) 2017-present
- Co-editor, Consumer Attorney Association of Los Angeles, ADR Edition 2017-present
Building Coalitions and Storytelling
- Webinars, International Academy of Mediators
“Staging a Mediation for Success” (February 2018)
“How to Market your Mediation Practice” (March 2018)
- Webinar, The Seminar Group
“Effective Advocacy in Mediation – Closing Techniques” (April 2018)
- Professor , “Advanced Mediation,” Pepperdine Law School, 2006-present
- Trainer, “Mediating The Litigated Case,” 6-Day Program for senior level attorneys and judges, (Irvine, Encino and Los Angeles), Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, 1994-present
- Contributing Writer, “Kluwer Mediation Blog,” International publication of Wolters Kluwer
- Presenter, “Using Improvisational Skills In Trial,” Consumer Attorneys of California 52nd Annual Convention, November 2013.
- Professor, “Improvisational Negotiation,” 3-Day Program for trial attorneys and judges, Summer Skills Program, Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- Trainer, “Using Improvisational Skills In Mediation,” Canadian Institute of Resources Law, University of Calgary, June 2011
- Presenter, “Negotiating Class Action Cases,” 3rd – 5th Annual Class Action Symposium, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, October 2010 -2012
- Professor, “Specialized Mediation,” Summer Skills Program emphasizing Employment, Personal injury and Medical malpractice disputes at Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, 2004 – present (Malibu and Vermont)
- Trainer, “Using Improvisational Techniques In Mediation,” San Diego Association of Realtors, November 21, 2009
- Workshop Leader, “Improvisational Negotiation: Adaptive Mediation Techniques For Advanced Practitioners,” San Diego Superior Court, November 12, 2009
- Presenter, “Successfully Mediating A Class Action Case,” 2nd Annual Class Action Symposium, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, Oct. 23-24, 2009
- Presenter, “Mediating Entertainment Disputes,” Texas Bar Association Entertainment Law Institute, October 2, 2009
- Workshop Leader, “Improvisation for Trial Lawyers,” Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, January 2009
- Presenter, “Decision Making In The Insurance Industry,” International Academy of Mediators, November 11-13, 2008, San Diego, California
- Presenter, “Improvisation and Negotiation,” Southern California Mediation Association, November 3-4, 2008, Malibu, California
- Keynote Speaker, “The Mind of The Advocate In Mediation,”Utah Bar Association, March 15, 2008
- Presenter, “Improvisational Skills for Trial Lawyers,” Arab-American Bar Assn, January 2008
- Workshop Leader, “Advanced Mediation Skills,” Resolute Systems, Memphis, Tennessee, May 2007
- Workshop Leader, “Biggest Mistakes I Made In A Mediation,” International Academy of Mediators, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 2007
- Presenter, “Top Ten Pet Peeves In Mediation,” Chicago, Illinois, Defense Research Institute (Life, Health, Disability & Erisa) seminar, March 2007
- Interview, “How To Make Money In Mediation and Create Value For Everyone,” Houston Bar Association, March 2007
- Workshop Leader, “Advanced Negotiation Skills for Mediators,” New Orleans, Mediation and Arbitration Professional Services (MAPS) May 2006
- Presenter, “Improvisation and Mediation,” Harvard Law School, April 2006
- Workshop Leader, “Improvisational Negotiation,” American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section, Atlanta, Georgia, April 2006
- Trainer, “Advanced Skills for Mediators,” CEDR, London, England, February 2006
- Professor, “Advanced Mediation Course,” Pepperdine Law School, January – April, 2006
- Workshop Leader, “Mediation Advocacy Skills,” California State University office of General Counsel, November 2005
- Workshop Leader, “Mediation Skills Program-ABA Dispute Resolution Conference,” Los Angeles, April 2005Trainer, “United States District Court Mediation Program,” , Los Angeles, California, March 2005
- Presenter, “Mediation In The Insurance Industry,” Eastern Claims Conference, New York, February 2005
- Presenter,“The Reputation of the Mediator,” International Academy of Mediators,” Cancun, Mexico, November 12, 2004.
- Workshop Leader, “Closing Techniques for Mediators,” Southern California Mediation Association, Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, November 4, 2004.
- Presenter, “Mediation: It’s Saturday Night,” International Claims Association, Nashville Tennessee, October 2004.
- Presenter, “Disputes with Especially Difficult People,” Beverly Hills Bar Assn., September 2004.
- Presenter, “Preparing For Mediation,” Defense Research Institute (Life, Health & Disabilitysection), April 2004, Washington, D.C.
- Presenter, “A View of Mediation in America,” Lamport Hall Group, London, England, April 2004.
- Presenter, “How To Be A Closer,” California State Bar, January 23, 2004, Santa Monica, California
- Presenter, “Winning Strategies for Mediation,” Southern California Defense Counsel, January 21, 2004, Century City, California
- Presenter, “Strategies For Breaking Impasse,” San Fernando Valley Bar Association, October 9, 2003.
- Workshop Leader, U.S. Federal Magistrate Mediation Program, September 13, 2003, Lake Arrowhead, California.
- Professor, “Advanced Mediation,” June 2003, Summer Skills Program, Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.
- Presenter, International Academy of Mediators conference, May 2003, St. Louis.
- Trainer, “Los Angeles Superior Court Mediation Skills Training,” 2000-2002, (Glendale, Pasadena, Palmdale, Long Beach, Encino, Culver City and Pomona)
- Trainer, “Federal Court Mediation Program,” April, 2002 (Los Angeles)
- Workshop Leader, “Mediation Skills for Judges,” Judicial Council of California/CJER, January and March 2002 (Long Beach and Monterey; August 2002 (San Diego)
- Dialogue Leader, “Technology in ADR, A New Wave or The Perfect Storm,” The Masters Forum, Pepperdine University, March 14, 2002.
- Trainer, “Mediation Advocacy” American Arbitration Association (Los Angeles), March 13, 2002.
- Workshop Leader, “The Business of Mediation,” International Academy of Mediators conference, Hilton Head, South Carolina, November 2001.
- Presenter, “The Truth About Deceit In Mediation,” Consumer Attorneys of California, September 2001.
- Workshop Leader, “Mediation Skills for Judges,” Judicial Council of California/CJER, August 2001, San Diego
- Presenter, “Technology and ADR” ABA Dispute Resolution Section, April 2001, Washington, D.C.
- Presenter, “Resolving Environmental Disputes,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, February 2001.
- Presenter, “Managing The Emotional Litigant In Mediation,”Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, November 2000.
- Facilitator, “Resolving Employment Disputes,” presented in association with www.law.com, September 2000.
- Trainer, “Mediation Skills,” Universidad Panamerica (Guadalajara, Mexico), September 2000.
- Presenter, Masters Forum at Pepperdine Law School/Straus Institute For Dispute Resolution,(Resolving Personal Injury Claims; From Trial Lawyer to Successful Mediator), October 2000
- Presenter, “Mediating In Cyberspace,” International Academy of Mediators Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 2-4, 2000.
- Facilitator, “How To Deal With The Emotional Distress Claim In Employment Disputes,”Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, November 9, 2000
- Trainer, “Mediation: A Skills Building Program” Continuing Judicial Studies Program/Judicial Council of California, August 2000, Dana Point, California
- Trainer, “Negotiating Litigated Cases” Los Angeles Superior Court, April 2000
- Presenter, “The Uniform Mediation Act” International Academy of Mediators Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 8, 2000
- Presenter, “Employment and Workplace Mediation” Southern California Mediation Association, April 15, 2000, Long Beach, California
- Presenter, “Using Mediation To Create Value In School Related Disputes” Millenium School Law Annual Conference, County Counsel’s Association, Feb 4, 2000, Monterey, California
- Presentation, “Cross Cultural Negotiations,” Los Angeles Superior Court, January and February, 2000
- Presenter, “Negotiation Strategies In Mediation” Annual Conference, Consumer Attorneys of California, November 1999, San Francisco
- Presenter, “Getting The Other Side to the Table,” Annual Convention of the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, October 1999, Las Vegas
- Presenter, “Negotiating The Litigated Case,” Los Angeles Superior Court, April 21 and June 29, 1999
- Presenter, International Academy of Mediator Conference, San Diego, California “Defining The Parameters of Evaluative Mediation”
- Presenter, ABA Techshow Conference, “Using Technology to Resolve Disputes,”
- Presenter, 1999 Orange Cty Mediation Week Conference “Case Evaluation, Risk Management & Loss Assessment,” March 1999
- Presenter, Mentor Program, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, March 6, 1999
- “Dispute Resolution – Catch The Next Wave,” American Bar Association, Panel Workshop on Tort and Insurance Issues in Mediation, February 5-6, 1999.
- SCMA Employment/Workplace Disputes – Luncheon speaker on “Creating Value For Disputants In Employment Mediations,” December 7, 1998
- 10th Annual SCMA Conference – “Marketing Your Mediation Practice,” November 21, 1998
- Trainer, San Fernando Valley Bar Assn Mediation Training
- Employment Issues for Human Resource Professionals -Guest Speaker (Sidley & Austin)
- Mediation Advocacy for Securities Lawyers, August 24, 1998, San Diego, CA, NASD
- “Legislative Update,” California Dispute Resolution Council, July 1998
- “Mediation Advocacy for Lawyers,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 1998
- “Annual CDRC Program -Recent Developments In ADR Legislation,” Los Angeles, April 1998
- “Recent Legislative Developments In ADR,” California Dispute Resolution Council program, March 27, 1998, Los Angeles, California
- “ADR – How To Use It To Your Advantage,” 5th Annual ALI-ABA Course of Study, San Francisco, California, March 19-20, 1998
- “Mediating Employment Discrimination Cases,” 10th Annual SPIDR San Diego conference, La Costa Resort, Carlsbad, California, January 31, 1998
- Southern California Mediation Association, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach, California, September 13, 1997
- “From The ADR Toolbox: Using The Internet to Settle Disputes,” American Bar Association annual conference, August 1, 1997, San Francisco, California
- “Convening The Mediation,” National Association of Securities Dealers, May and June, 1997
- Mediation Skills, Visiting Professor Hamline Law School/Dispute Resolution Institute, June 1997
- “ADR In Insurance Bad Faith and Tort Litigation,” American Conference Institute, March 18, 1997
- “Using ADR To Resolve Employment Disputes,” Counsel Connect, January 1997
- “Skills Training For Mediators,” Ventura County Dispute Settlement Services, October 1996
- “Evaluative v. Facilitative Mediation,” Society of Professionals In Dispute Resolution, Annual International Conference, October 1996
- “Negotiation Training,” Ventura County Dispute Settlement Services, September 1996
- Panel Member and Presenter at “Court Annexed Mediation” program at annual SPIDR Conference, Oct. 1996. Other panel members included: James Alfini, Robert Baruch Bush, John Heyman, Robert Dulberg, Janice Small
- “Expand Your Law Practice With The Use of Facilitated Negotiations,” Beverly Hills Bar Association, June 1996
- “Mediation Advocacy For Trial Lawyers,” Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, May 1996.
- “ADR For Intellectual Property Lawyers,” Los Angeles Intellectual Property Lawyers Association, May 1996.
- “Online Interview with Judge Bert Glennon,” Lexis Counsel Connect, January 1996.
- “The Continuum of Conflict,” California Association of Realtors/Risk Management Institute, January 1996
- “Mediation Training,” Faculty Member of the National Association of Securities Dealers, November 8, 1995
- “Dispute Resolution in Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance,” American Bar Association, Los Angeles, Oct 26, 1995
- Online Interview with Ken Andrichik, Director of Mediation for NASD, ADR Forum, Lexis Counsel Connect, September, 1995
- “Mediation Skills Training,” The Dispute Resolution Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 24-27, 1995
- “Marketing Yourself as a Professional Mediator,” ADR Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, July 22, 1995
- “Mediation In The Workplace,” American Society of Trainers and Developers, Annual Conference, Dallas Texas, June 1995
- “An ADR Protocol For The Insurance Industry,” American Bar Association Litigation Section, Tucson, Arizona, March 1995
- “Mediation As An Affirmative Business Strategy In The Real Estate Industry,” Pepperdine Institute For Dispute Resolution/Southern California Mediation Association 6th Annual Conference, November 19, 1994
- “Mediation In The Real Estate Industry,” Presentation to selected retired Judges at Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services, October 19, 1994
- “Mediation As A Business Strategy In The Real Estate Industry,” Legal Affairs Forum, California Association Realtors Convention, September 23, 1994
- “Mediation Training for Superior Court Mediators,” Presented in September and October, 1994 in association with the Los Angeles Superior Court Mandatory Mediation Program and the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association
- “How To Avoid Lawsuits,” Regular seminars at real estate brokerage offices throughout California on ADR,and legal updates. Regular Continuing Education Seminars at Law Firms throughout Los Angeles
- “The Business of Mediation,” (3 workshops-Southern California Mediation Association, December 1993; January 1994 and February 1994)
- “I Create Solutions,” Two Day workshop for lawyers and claims personnel on winning strategies using dispute resolution techniques.Willis Corroon Administrative Services, Nashville, Tennessee (March 1993)
- “ADR, It’s Here and It’s Now,” American Prepaid Institute, Palm Springs, (March 1993)
- “Mediation of Insurance Disputes,” Southern California Mediation Association, Pepperdine University-Malibu, November 1992
- “Cooperation Agreements,” Defense and Dispute Resolution Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, November 1992
- “Integrating ADR Into Claims Handling,” West Valley Claims Association, Woodland Hills, June 1992
- “Working With ADR,” San Gabriel Claims Association March, 1992
- Presenter, Workshop for Neutrals, First Mediation Corporation, 1991
Mr. Krivis has served as the President of the International Academy of Mediators and the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA). He has served on the Board of Directors of the California Academy of Mediation Professionals, the Economic Alliance and the California Dispute Resolution Council. He is on the Board of Visitors of Pepperdine Law School. He is a member of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section where he has participated on various committees and programs.
Mr. Krivis and First Mediation Corporation are approved providers of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for the California State Bar. His MCLE presentations are in the areas of Improvisation Techniques in Negotiation, Ethics, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation Advocacy.
International Academy of Mediators
Southern California Mediation Association
Birthdate: March 8, 1956
Family: Married (Amy), two children – Hannah and Rachel
Education: Southwestern University School Of Law (1980), San Diego State University (1976)
In The Media
The Complex Litigator
Wage and Hour Class Action Interview with Jeffrey Krivis, Mark Rudy and Peter Lichtman
Consumer Attorneys of California 52nd Annual Convention
Presentation: Using Improvisational Techniques in Trial – Nov 15, 2013
2013 Super Lawyers – At the Forefront of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Los Angeles Daily Journal – Top Neutrals of 2002 – 2013
Whose Trial Is It Anyway? Using Improv To Help Lawyers `Present` More Effectively
The Doug Noll Radio Show
Interview with Jeff Krivis: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Los Angeles Daily Journal – Top Neutrals of 2009
Neutrals with specialties that stand out in the crowd… (more)
Best Lawyers’ 2010 Los Angeles Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year
Los Angeles Daily Journal – Through Jazz, Bringing Mediation “Fresh To Life”
Called “Improvisational Mediation,” Jeffrey Krivis teaches a course at Pepperdine Law School which brings together numerous disciplines, including jazz and theatre … (more)
2008 International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution – Five Steps to Maximizing Dollars When the Objective Is Money
Parties come to mediation with different objectives. Some want closure, confidentiality, or free discovery. Others were referred by the court and attend by obligation. Most, however, participate because they want to maximize their recovery dollars. If you fall into this category, read on … (more)
December 2007, Daily Journal – Making It In ADR: Passion and Dedication
When judges began leaving the bench in the early 1990’s to enter the budding fields of private dispute resolution…(more)
April 2007, The Hollywood Reporter – Power Mediators
Our inaugural list of the top 32 mediation specialists for entertainment disputes…(more)
2006 Book Of The Year Award from CPR Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution
Improvisational Negotiation wins book award from CPR Institute for Conflict Prevention & Prevention…(more)
Can We Call a Truce? Ten Tips for Negotiating Workplace Conflicts.
San Francisco, CA (June 2006)—Conflict happens. It happens in all areas of business. Disputes can arise between employees, between business partners, between a company and a client. And if such issues are not settled, bad things can happen… (more)
Three Quick Tricks for “Reading Minds”
Knowing what people are thinking and feeling can help you build rapport and, eventually, resolve conflicts. Here are a few tips from master mediator Jeffrey Krivis to get you started… (more)
Top Neutrals In The State
Recognizing the State’s Top Neutrals – Who makes the best mediator? Are former judges, with their authority with years on the bench, the go-to neutrals? Or do lawyers, who come armed with negotiation know-how, surpass their judicial colleagues.. (more)
August 2006 Newsblaze.com – How the U.S. Could Negotiate a Successful Peace Agreement
With new reports of violence coming in every day, a sustainable peace in the region is looking more and more out of reach. Mediator Jeff Krivis says we shouldn’t give up on peace for the region and the U.S. may be the country to help bring it to fruition… (more)
2006 Los Angeles Daily Journal
The International Academy of Mediators, many of whose members were trained at Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute, is teaming with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Negotiation Research Project to co-sponsor “Dialogue at Harvard: Master Thinkers Meet Master Practitioners… (more)
Summer 2005 Big News – Going Global
Local neutrals join large-scale international dispute resolution consortium. Effectively managing conflict is a full-time job for most California neutrals. And in the past they worked either in the state or perhaps the West. But now several California neutrals have been selected for panels with New York City-based International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution…. (more)
2005 Daily Journal EXTRA – Litigation Files
Jeffrey Krivis calls a story he penned about a man who sued his employer for wrongful termination “Independence Day.” The man’s plight, on the surface, was simple. After 20 years with a Fortune 100 company, he was laid off. He’d never worked another job and was having a difficult time… (more)
2005 Los Angeles Daily Journal EXTRA – Common Ground
The X factor in mediation is the ability to influence the other side to pay more or take less. Finding the elusive X factor is the challenge for most mediators, and is often done in the face of uncertainty. This uncertainty takes many forms and can serve as a barrier if not acknowledged… (more)
2005 Alternatives – How to Develop More Options For Employment Mediation
When Congress decided to include, as gross income, settlements made for “nonphysical” injury torts, it reduced the value of such settlements by up to 45%. This has been particularly devastating in employment cases, where emotional distress recoveries often helped… (more)
Translating Theory Into Practice…Pepperdine University School of Law
Pepperdine is more than an educational institution. It stands at the very center of dispute resolution. In over ten years of affiliation with the Straus Institute, it has struck me that the people who study and teach there are true trendsetters. They have a vision that seeks out new ways to implement and adapt the principles of ADR… (more)
California’s Top 50 Mediators and Arbitrators.
Attorneys like Julia A. Molander worry that the rise of mediation spells trouble for the future of the justice system. But veteran neutrals say alternative methods of resolution are doing what they were created to do take pressure off courts… (more)
2004 Super Lawyers: Mediator Profile
Super Lawyer Jeffrey Krivis: Jeffrey Krivis has been recognized by the Daily Journal, the premier legal publication in Southern California, as one of the “top 20 neutrals in the state”… (more)
Top 50 Neutrals – Jeffrey Krivis
It’s a rarity to find a mediator who can settle all kinds of cases and is able to deal with the personalities of the lawyers and the clients… (more)
2003 Advocate – “Taking a mediator to lunch”
Straight from the horses’ mouths… at lunch with Jeffrey Krivis, Michael Moorehead and Troy Roe. (more)
20 Most Sought After Mediators and Arbitrators in The State
Jeffrey Krivis is a mediation who know how to finish a deal. And if it doesn’t happen in one day, he’ll keep at it until the parties reach a settlement… (more)
2000 California LawBusiness – “The Closer”
Every day I meet with people and try to sort through their conflicts in order to achieve some meaningful consensus or agreement. Some of these sessions are more difficult than others, but a challenging part of the process comes when one party fails to show any appreciation toward the other party for whatever concession has been given, however modest… (more)
1998 Daily Journal Mediator Profile – “Reading Thought to Find a Meeting of the Mind”
Judging by the way he describes one of his secrets to success, it’s hard to tell if Jeffrey L. Krivis is a mediator or a psychic… (more)
1997 Daily Journal Mediator Profile – “A Full-Time Mediator is a Rarity in California”
A full-time mediation is a rarity in California… (more)