Laurel Kaufer is a Senior Advisor to The Margolin Group and a highly regarded lawyer and mediator. Kaufer was recognized as one of Southern California’s “Best Lawyers” in the field of Alternate Dispute Resolution in both 2010 and 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.
Kaufer transitioned from her work as a full time litigator to full time neutral practice sixteen years ago. She is currently the Chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution of the California State Bar Association.
For many years, Kaufer has been a strong consumer voice in the health insurance debate. As an insured, self-employed, single parent she has used her personal experiences to fight for consumer protections with regard to premium increases. In February 2010, as an Anthem policyholder, she testified before the California Assembly against the proposed Anthem Individual Division rate increases of up to 39%, and in June 2010, was cited by Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her arguments before the United States Senate for the creation of a national rate authority to control runaway health insurance premium increases.
Her commitment to public service has long been a part of her work. Kaufer has recently taken her advocacy to a new level, promoting the use of appropriate conflict resolution systems in diplomatic and public policy arenas. Following Hurricane Katrina, Kaufer founded the Mississippi Mediation Project, providing Conflict Resolution education to residents in hard hit areas of the state.
Kaufer is co-founder of Prison of Peace, a program intent on reducing violence in the prison community, which began at the request of an inmate at Valley State Prison for Women, a maximum-security facility in central California. She and her partner teach communication, peacemaking and mediation skills to inmates serving life and long-term sentences and are now preparing them to train others. By using and sharing these skills with others the prisoners shift from Serving Life to a Life of Service.
Kaufer received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA, her law degree from Loyola Law School.