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Choosing the right mediator can make a vital difference between various outcomes of your civil dispute. Receiving just compensation and achieving genuine reconciliation with the other party is one way to end the conflict. The other is getting stuck in an inefficient mediation process. Even worse, you can end up in years-long and expensive litigation.
To avoid pitfalls and get the most out of your mediation experience, check these seven steps to selecting the best civil mediator. Be sure to go through each before making a final decision regarding the choice of your mediator.
1. First, decide what qualities you want from your potential mediator. Do you need an expert on a specific subject or an expert mediator? Subject matter experts are a wise choice because of their in-depth knowledge in the relevant field. But keep in mind that subject matter experts often lack sophisticated mediation expertise. On the other hand, expert mediators possess negotiation skills fine-tuned through years of experience. Also, do not forget that an expert mediator can quickly grasp the essence of a specific subject. Contrarily, subject matter experts cannot acquire valuable mediation experience in a short time.
2. Furthermore, go through a list of mediators to narrow the scope of your search. You can check local mediation organizations and a list of their members. Ask your attorney, friends, therapist, and other professionals for a recommendation. After compiling the list of potential mediators, check their references by looking through official databases. Focus on clients’ experiences, the length of the cases they conducted, their mediation training and experience, etc.
3. Next, evaluate the work philosophy of the mediator. Is their style facilitative, transformative, or evaluative? In other words, does your prospective mediator works by facilitating the negotiations between you and the opposite parties without proposing solutions? Do they focus on an active approach by making specific suggestions to resolve a dispute? Or do they let you negotiate the matter and limit their role to evaluating the potential settlement? You can do that by interviewing mediators personally or by phone.
4. Additionally, examine the ethical standards and confidentiality of prospective candidates. Do they have a prior relationship (personal or professional) with the opposite party or their attorney? What about confidentiality? Can you trust prospective mediators that they will not disclose to the other party information shared during caucus? Will they stay confidential in case of future litigation? You can acquire this information by interviewing potential candidates, as well.
5. Narrowing the choice of mediators based on the above criteria will take you to the next step – location. Consider the possibility of traveling to the mediation sessions. Is your best mediator too far from you? Can you fit mediation sessions into your everyday schedule? Is there another equally good mediator from your list closer to you? Depending on their location, the costs can vary.
6. Speaking of costs, does your mediator charge by the hour or by day? Do their fee comprises only the time spent meditating, or do they charge for preparation and travel time? Do not forget to ask whether the parties split the costs.
7. After gathering all relevant information and making the final list of prospective mediators, choose by weighing all the pros and cons for each candidate.
A certified Florida mediator, Thomas Chase brings years of experience mediating various civil cases.
His uncompromising commitment to excellence guarantees the successful resolution of your civil dispute.