Selecting a Mediator

Choosing the right mediator is crucial to getting your case settled.

Skillful Facilitation

The ability to facilitate negotiations is the heart of the mediation process. The mediator must understand the parties’ needs and interests, clarify the issues about which they disagree, generate practical options for settlement, and advance the bargaining that leads to a fair resolution.

Specialized Knowledge and Practical Experience

A mediator who is not only knowledgeable, but also highly experienced in similar cases, can make the process more efficient and productive. Such a mediator is uniquely qualified to help the parties develop the full range of settlement options, and moderate unreasonable expectations which can hurt the prospect of an agreement. In some cases, where the standard of care or industry practices is relevant, as in the real estate field, a specialized background can be especially important.

Getting Past the Anger, and Opening Communication

Parties in any conflict are likely to feel angry, frustrated, hurt, distrustful — negative emotions that can be an obstacle to negotiations. The mediator’s first task is to defuse those emotions so they don’t inhibit new ideas. The mediator works to open channels of communication and to create an environment where a clear and accurate exchange of information can take place.

Breaking Impasse

Parties engage a mediator when their own efforts to solve the problem have been fruitless. While not every case can be settled at mediation, you want a mediator who is not only creative, but tireless and willing to persist in the face of complex issues and strong emotions. In short, you want someone who will stick with the job until the job gets done.