The first step to your mediation process is to find the right mediator for your case. It’s a crucial first step which can make or break your case to gaining the best negotiated terms to your favor.
When looking for the right mediator, you would want one who is professional with a style appropriate for resolving conflict while fostering different personalities. Your mediator should also be highly experienced in the relevant practice area. For example, if you are dealing with a tenancy issue, you will want a mediator experienced in disputes between landlord and tenant.
By having the right mediator for your case right from the get go, the payoff goes far beyond securing competence and experience. You are also creating a collaborative atmosphere as both parties have to agree to choosing the mediator which will be the first agreement made between both parties before the mediation even begins.
Do you need a lawyer for mediation?
In many cases, lawyers aren’t necessary to achieve success in mediation. Competent mediators are able to judge the situation appropriately and will know how to maintain fair discussions.
What makes a good mediator
First, you should make the effort to make a list of mediators who meet your desired criteria. Your final choice should be a mediator that is agreeable by all parties. Consult resumes and references along with external resources to retrieve the answers to these questions below to help determine if the mediator is a good one.
Areas of practice
How much experience does the mediator have in your area of dispute? Do they have any successful recent cases they can share public settlement terms with?
How many cases has the mediator had? And how many cases were a success?
Has the mediator received any professional mediation accolades? Where was this training received and in what specific area of practice? Does the mediator have all the necessary certifications required to mediate in your state (if required)?
Subject and industry expertise
Do you need a mediator who is a subject matter expert? In some cases, specific knowledge can enhance the efficiency of mediation. It is, therefore, important to carefully consider whether the mediator has expertise in your field.
Philosophy and approach
What is the mediator’s philosophy and approach when dealing with cases? Pay particular attention to the way the mediator describes their process and consider what it would be like when applied in your case.
Lawyer or non-lawyer
Does the mediator have a law degree? Many mediators are also practicing lawyers. This may or may not be helpful, depending on your case. For example, if your case involves a lot of legal technicalities, a lawyer-mediator will most likely have a better understanding or the case being discussed. In most ordinary cases, extensive legal knowledge isn’t necessarily required for mediating a case.
Is the cost of the mediator within your budget?
It may pay off to consider fixed cost mediation platforms, such as online mediation – which has a lot of benefits beyond costs, such as time and efficiency.
Is the mediator available to handle your case within your time frame?
So how do you choose the right mediator for your case?
Depending on how the mediator answers the questions above, you will have a better insight into whether they are right for your case.
You should also consider using online mediation as an alternative to traditional mediation. It’s cost effective, time efficient, and more convenient for parties to convene.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that choosing a mediator has to be agreeable by all parties.