People always want to know how to pick a mediator. These are some thoughts on the subject. Most states do not license or credential or certify mediators. If a mediator says he or she has this status, I would look more into who is making the designation. Unfortunately, I have come across mediators who have meaningless credentials from companies who will sell the designation to anyone. However, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) has an Advance Practitioner membership category. Advance Practitioner membership shows a commitment to mediation which usually indicates the person is a trained mediator. Ask if the mediator is an Advanced Practitioner member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. ACR has a website at http://www.acrnet.org/ which lists Advanced Practitioner members. Picking a mediator is like picking a spouse. If you are getting divorced, you may not have done a great job picking a spouse. You should not make the same mistake when picking a mediator. Look into the mediator’s background and experience. It is always a good idea to get a referral from someone who knows the mediator.
You should consider asking the mediator some of the following other questions: How many cases have you mediated? What is your training? What was the last continuing education program you attended? Why did you become a mediator? What is your mediation format? The best mediators do not have a one-size-fits-all format. What is your mediation style? The best mediators are flexible, and will use different styles at different times and with different people, as appropriate. They may use facilative, evaluative or transformative mediation. What are the fees and are there administrative fees or other “hidden costs?” Different mediators have different ways of billing. Make sure that you know your mediator’s billing practices in advance. Do they want a settlement in every case? Good mediators are committed to helping get cases settled whenever reasonably possible, but are not attached to settlement for settlement’s sake. Ask the mediator whom they would recommend as a mediator. If you interview a few mediators, it is interesting if they would recommend each other. Remember, if you don’t like your mediator, you can always change to a different mediator. You do not have to leave mediation. Finally, make sure your mediator has malpractice insurance. I am sure there are many other questions and criteria for picking a good mediator. Let us know if you have any suggestions. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located at the below the directions. WM 3/4/08