How To Become An Effective Mediator

how to become an effective mediator lawyer mediation

If you’ve decided to develop a career in family or commercial law, mediation will play a fundamental role in your work. As a mediator, you'll be involved in helping the parties in a family dispute to define the legal terms of an agreement, without the need for expensive, stressful, and damaging court battles. 

According to the Kaufman & McPherson Law Firm, their mediation specialists perform several tasks. They weigh various options and communicate these to the parties involved; provide unbiased legal advice; based on precedents, explain possible outcomes; estimate the costs; ensure that agreements are well-written and cover everything needed, and prepare documents to place before the court. 

Great mediators don't only need to be legal experts, they need to gain the trust of all parties through their honesty and integrity; ability to deliver bad, as well as good, news; and resilience so they can clear away any obstacles to an agreement. A final trait that will be required to ensure credibility is attention to detail, with a meticulous approach to preparation. 

The feeling of using a consensual process to resolve an apparently insoluble conflict is tremendously satisfying, as well as providing a lucrative career path. 

It’s clear that, on graduating and starting in practice, although you may have the minimum requirements to practice as a mediator, there’ll still be a lot to learn. How can you get the experience required to be effective in resolving the cases, and gaining the optimum outcome for all the parties involved? 

Several steps can help you on the path to a successful career as a mediation specialist. 

Training 

If your legal training did not include in-depth mediation training to become a court-certified mediator, search for courses that will provide the certification which your clients will certainly expect. 

Find A Mentor 

A mentor can be a powerful help as you develop your skills and experience. You’ll be able to discuss your questions and issues as they arise with a more experienced colleague (not necessarily your supervisor) and benefit from the wisdom and insights they’ve gained over years. 

Seek Out Cases 

In the early days, seek out as many opportunities to involve yourself in situations that require a mediator as possible. For example, take on pro-bono cases, or offer your services to community support organizations. This will help you develop a breadth of experience. In addition, network with other lawyers as much as possible- attend networking events and engage with local bar associations. Responding to blog posts and articles written by other legal professionals with questions and comments, or even writing your own is another great way to get noticed. 

Choose Your Area Of Specialization 

To help you gain the most relevant experience, choose your area of specialization and focus all your efforts on that. Although the core skills involved in family dispute mediation and commercial mediation are similar, you will want to demonstrate to clients your expertise and understanding of their specific area. 

In short, although the skills of an effective mediator take time to build, the result can be a long-term career that is emotionally and financially rewarding.

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