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While our physical office remains closed as we shelter in place, we wish to assure you that we are open for business and committed to serving you. We are available to meet with you by phone or by video and are pleased to offer “portable” services, such as mediation, which can be conducted remotely, and parenting coordination, to assist parents with the resolution of custody disputes while access to the Courts remains limited. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us at (415) 495-4499, or We wish you and yours good health and good humor as we navigate this unprecedented moment.

Pierson Coats Palash & Paul LLP

What We Do

Traditional Representation

We represent you (period). Traditional representation encompasses everything from a settlement negotiated between two lawyers to a full-scale trial. We do the heavy lifting by: collecting information, either informally or through discovery; assembling your team (as needed); and evaluating settlement options while we develop your best alternative(s) to a negotiated agreement. We help you understand the issues and map out a strategy to resolve disputed items. Most matters are resolved by agreement and without court intervention. However, should you need an advocate in court, we are prepared to represent you in all aspects of court-related proceedings, including custody mediation, short cause hearings, depositions, settlement conferences and trial. Our tenacious trial preparation often leads to settlement.

Confidential Consultation

We regularly consult with individuals who have a complex family law problem, need a second opinion, or simply want an overview of the marital dissolution process. We help you better understand your rights, responsibilities, and evaluate your options, so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

Consultation services are available for clients in mediation, self-represented litigants, second opinions, and those simply wanting more information about a family law matter. As consulting attorneys, we do not represent you in court, we do not interact with your spouse/partner or his or her lawyer, or negotiate on your behalf. We educate you on the law and help you develop a more effective negotiation strategy.

Neutral Assignments

Andrea Palash serves as a parenting coordinator and private judge for child custody matters. A parenting coordinator is a, quasi-judicial role in which an attorney is appointed by the Court or agreed upon by the parties in a family law matter to make binding decisions for child custody and visitation-related matters. As a private judge, Andrea is appointed by the parties under the California Constitution, Article VI and the Code of Civil Procedure to adjudicate all aspects of their child custody matter.


Do you like the idea of reaching an agreement rather than having a judge decide? Susan Coats, Amy Paul, and Ashley Felson serve as mediators who work directly with both parties to help them reach agreements. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process, in which you and your spouse/partner/co-parent are the decision makers. As mediators, we help facilitate a conversation between you and your spouse/partner/co-parent, identify your interests and goals, develop possible solutions, and assist you in creating uniquely personal and durable agreements. We do not represent either of you, or advocate for or against any given position you may have. We strongly recommend that you seek an independent consulting attorney to advise you on your legal rights and obligations during the mediation process. During the mediation, our office can also prepare the necessary documentation to memorialize the terms of your agreement and submit it to the court for entry without you ever having to go to court.

Collaborative Practice

Do you want a professional team created to work together to help your family through divorce? Consider Collaborative Practice.

Collaborative Practice is a model that uses the skills of an interdisciplinary team to help clients develop better communication, exchange helpful information, and make decisions that are best for both clients and their families. Clients work with coaches, who are trained mental health professionals, to develop and articulate their interests, create parenting plans when applicable, and communicate more effectively during difficult conversations. Child specialists can provide the opportunity for the team and the parents to hear a child’s concerns as the family transitions through the dissolution process. Financial specialists help clients understand their finances, from their budgets to their net worth. Financial specialists also develop different financial scenarios and projections so that each client can evaluate whether a proposed solution works for their near and long term financial goals. When this process is chosen, the clients both agree that they want their respective lawyers to be problem solvers and to help achieve the goals determined by the clients, not “gotcha adversaries” who may be looking to undermine the other.

Susan Coats and Amy Paul are trained and experienced in this consensual dispute resolution model.