By Douglas Katz – 02/08/23
So you have embraced the value of alternative dispute resolution and decided to use a mediator to reach an agreement on a conflict. What next? Well
When choosing a mediator, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Type of Mediation: Mediation is often associated with divorce, but in reality there are many different types of mediation used for different circumstances and conflicts. The mediator should be able to meet the requirements and objectives of that type.
- Qualifications: Look for a mediator who is trained and experienced in conflict resolution and has a good reputation in the field. This should go beyond looking for mediator in their signature line.
- Compatibility: Consider if the mediator’s communication style, values, and approach align with your needs and preferences. Mediation works much better when you and the mediator get along and you can control that when you decide.
- Area of expertise: If the conflict you’re facing involves a specific area of law or industry, look for a mediator who has expertise in that field. Simply put in oversimplified comparison, you don’t hire a plumber to do your electrical work. Know you needs and match the mediators background to them.
- Availability: Ensure that the mediator is available to work with you and can commit the necessary time and resources to your case.
- Cost: Consider the mediator’s fees and whether they are within your budget.
Because selecting your mediator is so important, these evaluative criteria deserve more than a few sentences. Every step demands a deliberate mapping of the mediator into your needs, preferences and desires.
Type of Mediation
Mediation is a process and, like any process, there can be many circumstances what the process works but requires specific skills, experience and capabilities. By understanding what you need, you can best narrow the field making further evaluation simpler. There are the most commonly referenced types of mediation, including:
- Facilitative mediation: This type of mediation focuses on helping parties to communicate effectively and find common ground in order to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
- Evaluative mediation: In this type of mediation, the mediator provides an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case and provides guidance on potential outcomes if the case were to go to court.
- Transformative mediation: This type of mediation emphasizes personal growth and the development of new relationship dynamics between the parties. It aims to help the parties understand each other’s perspectives and find a solution that meets their individual needs.
- Restorative justice mediation: This type of mediation focuses on repairing harm and restoring relationships between parties. It is often used in cases involving harm to individuals or communities, such as in criminal cases or disputes involving neighbor disputes.
- Workplace mediation: This type of mediation is designed to resolve conflicts in a workplace setting, such as disputes between employees or between employees and management.
- Family mediation: This type of mediation is designed to resolve conflicts between family members, such as disputes over custody, support, or property division.
While some states and counties require a legal background for some mediation, such as divorce, mediation on the whole is unregulated and does not require licensing. This should not dissuade anyone from pursuing mediation. Instead, it means that choosing a mediator requires a review the qualifications that the mediator brings as opposed to depending upon an industry standard.
When selecting a mediator, some key qualifications that I recommend that you consider include: