TIPS FOR PICKING A MEDIATOR
We used to select or “pick” our doctors, lawyers, and other professionals by looking in the telephone book. Now, we have “websites” and seemingly every professional including “Mediators” have a presence on the world wide web. Although many web-sites are appealing to the eye, they many times unfortunately tell one very little about the qualification of a Mediator.
I suggest you look for 5 things:
- Longevity/Experience: How long have they been a Mediator ? Was this person mediating before it was cool ? With the recent acceptance of mediation, a lot of individuals have “jumped onto the mediation train”.
- Lectured: Has the person lectured or spoken or taught others about Mediation ? This tells one whether the person is recognized as knowledgeable among their peers.
- Published: Has the person written articles or other scholarly publications on Mediation in peer reviewed journals ? Have they created “Apps” related to Mediation. I believe that one must thoroughly understand the subject in order to effectively write about it. This is another factor that reflects upon the reputation of the person by their peers.
- Technology: Does the Mediator use Technology to identify and simplify the issues in the Mediation session easier and more convenient. More meaningful.
- Education: Although I firmly believe that one selects a Mediator for their “Mediation knowledge and skills”, it is sometimes helpful if the Mediator’s underlying background (lawyer, accountant, psychologist) can help them understand the issues involved with the mediation. For instance, a mediator with a background in law or social work, might be helpful in a domestic case involving parenting issues. Whereas, selecting a mediator with a background in accounting, might be advantageous in a thorny business dissolution matter.
- Training: I tell my friends who inquire about becoming a Mediator that “Nobody” makes a good Mediator without good Mediation Training. It is a different skill set and the skills utilized by the best lawyers and even judges do not automatically translate to good mediation skills. Forty (40) hours is the minimum standard. Many mediators will have more and it reflects upon their commitment to improving their mediation skills.
For instance, in Tennessee one must be a “Listed Rule 31 Neutral” in order to participate in court-annexed Mediation such as domestic/divorce matters and other lawsuits pending before our courts. Thus, this would be starting point
These items are easily found on the well-qualified Mediator’s web-site and in the words of Yogi Berra, “When you look, you see a lot”.