Laura Benghal

(510) 292-9891

Since becoming a full-time neutral, in 2017, I have provided an array of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services through San Francisco Unified School District’s special education ADR program. My services have included coaching, mediation, facilitation of IEPs, training for district special education supervisors, and programmatic consulting.

Before becoming a neutral, I practiced as a special education and employment attorney after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, in 2010. Previously, I worked as a paraeducator in a middle school resource support room.

For all ADR parties, I aim to listen actively; create spaces that honor each party’s unique physical, intellectual, cultural, emotional, and spiritual landscape; support effective communication; encourage mutual understanding; acknowledge areas of disagreement; probe the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s positions; identify areas of agreement; and help identify and generate options for mutually agreeable resolutions.

I am deeply committed to making ADR accessible, inclusive, and equitable for all parties. I am proficient in Spanish and have significant experience working with monolingual Spanish speakers and people who identify at various intersections of race, gender, class, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.

I encourage parties to access ADR as early as possible, and as often as necessary to repair the working relationships that are essential to maintaining a collaborative team spirit. My approach to ADR is flexible, from transformational to evaluative, and depends on the unique set of circumstances in the dispute and the goals of each party.

In addition to maintaining a private ADR practice, I work on staff as a mediator with the Bar Association of San Francisco and am an active mediator on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s ADR panel.

My daughter attends public school in Berkeley and my nieces attend public school in Napa.

Areas of Expertise

  • ADR
  • ADR Best Practices
  • Changing the School Culture for ADR
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Creating Systems (e.g., ADR Continuum)
  • Creative Problem-Solving
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Due Process
  • Equity
  • Facilitated IEPs
  • Facilitation
  • Learning Loss
  • Mediation
  • Parental Relationships & Advocacy
  • Professional Development
  • Resolving Complaints (e.g., Resolution Sessions)
  • Training Parents for ADR Processes