Patrica Gray’s professional career in mental health began as a psychiatric technician in California State Hospitals. She left the hospital to complete college and study law. In 1980 she completed her undergraduate work at Mills College and graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1984.
After 10-years representing victims of sexual harassment / abuse and advocating to change law regulating their right to sue abusers for damages, Patricia Gray was elected to serve as a state trial court judge. In that capacity, in addition to her other judicial duties, she convened a team of mental health professionals, law enforcement, lawyers and probation staff to open the first mental health court in Northern California in order to address the serious recidivism rates of incarcerated mentally ill individuals. Judge Gray retired from the bench in 2001 and became a professionally trained mediator. In 2015 she completed a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley for the sole purpose of becoming a better-informed dispute resolution professional. She has been mediating civil, family law , business, and government/court disputes for over 15 years. Her experience includes service to culturally diverse populations and the LGBQT community. Judge Gray’s resume is attached for your review and consideration.
Judge Gray’s training and experience on the trial court trained her in neutral assessment and conflict negotiation skills. There is a big difference between the duties of a judge or lawyer in the courtroom and the duties of a mediator. Judges make decisions based on the law and the facts presented by the lawyers. Lawyers are expected to have the all the answers, advocate for their clients and get positive results. Mediators do not make decisions and do not act as advocates in mediation. They act as neutral facilitators, with reserved judgment, although may at times advocate for the opposing views (Devil’s advocate). Ideally, they facilitate mutual understanding between the parties (stakeholders) and assist them in finding solutions in order to make their own decisions. Judge Gray has experience in all three areas and on both sides of the table/bench and has developed an appreciation of the duties and responsibility of each role.
Patricia Gray finds mediation to be the most effective forum for all manner of dispute resolution primarily due to the impact and outcomes she has experienced with clients in over 200 mediations compared to outcomes as their lawyer or their judge in the adversary system. The enormous expense of protracted litigation alone adds unnecessary stress to the litigation, and the parties most often report “war stories” instead of positive outcomes. Courts and lawyers have tremendous value in resolving disputes (especially where the parties cannot communicate for whatever reason) but is not as effective in meeting current and future interests the way mediation can. Judges and lawyers work diligently to meet their ethical responsibilities in assessing legal issues in consideration of the factual basis of the complaint on file and reaching a settlement. However, the system does not allow time to fully explore individual interests in court before making orders that have an immediate impact. As a result, it is estimated that the family law courts spend the majority of their time amending prior orders that did not meet or suit the need of litigants: More money, more time and more legal fees.
Experienced professionally trained mediators strive to reach agreement through exploration of the conflict that divides the parties. Next, they facilitate communication that explores solutions that are interest based, transformative, and most importantly, decided by the parties, not the court after or before a protracted legal process that can take years. As a bonus, through the mediation process, the mediation clients develop conflict resolution skills that are useful in all aspects of life, including resolving issues that arise relevant to the current subject matter once mediation is completed. Judge Gray is available to discuss your dispute and answer questions about the mediation process and schedule an appointment.
Judge Gray is an experinced consent decree monitor and mediation expert. She invites appointment as Special or Deputy Special Master in civil and class action forensic matters, especially as they relate to corrections and issues related to incarcerated mentally ill individuals. She has published a comprehensive treatise comparing re-entry programs for mentally ill detainees and correctional inmates. Judge Gray is available to speak to professional organizations, or consultation, mediation, report review and expert testimony as a service to the courts, individuals, government, and the legal community.