PR for People Monthly MAY 2017 - Page 22

During the course of our interviews, we were able to identify patterns that could be divided into two categories. There are several essential elements that characterize a successful mediator. Second, there are also intangible factors that give the mediator the ability to engender and inspire trust with all of the parties.

There are many qualities that make a good mediator. Not all attorneys have the essential qualities to become a good mediator. Nor do most judges have the essential qualities to conduct mediations that produce successful outcomes.

The Essential Elements. Many attorneys have a recurring need to hire good mediators, so here are some common factors that should be considered in the mediator selection process. The mediator must have the full-range of skills needed. The mediator

should be very experienced in many aspects of law

such as contracts, professional negligence, construction, land use, civil rights, employment practices, and auto liability. However, some mediators limit their work to just a single area of civil litigation.

Credentials. Many of the attorneys we interviewed mentioned that a good mediator must have the right credentials: strong education, years of practice in law, and a solid reputation in the legal community. Word-of-mouth was cited as one of the most important factors in the selection process. The same short list of mediators, who are considered to be at the top, tend to work frequently, while some aspiring mediators are not contenders, unless there is a critical shortage of choices among top mediators.

Over the last six months, we’ve had the opportunity to interview a dozen of our colleagues, mostly attorneys, all of whom have regularly hired mediators. We thought we’d take the guesswork out of the mediator selections process and share some of our findings that were compiled from many hours of interviews.

Choosing a

Good Mediator

by Gregg Bertram, M.A. J.D. LL.M