A Marin Lawyer Became the ‘Godfather of Conflict Mediation’—Then He Ran for Local Office

In These Polarizing Times, Is Any California Community Safe from Bitter Battles?

There is no mask or vaccine that can protect communities from high conflict. Even people who are highly skilled at avoidance and de-escalation can get stuck in bitter, all-consuming, no-win battles in their hometowns.

That’s the lesson of Marin County lawyer Gary Friedman, as recounted in journalist Amanda Ripley’s 2021 book High Conflict: How We Get Trapped and How We Get Out.  Ripley’s masterful work is not a California book—it recounts conflicts from Chicago to Colombia—but it is what Californians should read if they want to navigate more peacefully through this …