Choosing an effective mediator
The mediation process presents the best option for a win-win when conflict arises. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and strives to promote cooperation, collaboration, and mutual understanding, rather than cohesion, or third-party judgment, such as a jury. Many legal disputes and/or conflicts can be resolved effectively through mediation prior to the commencement of litigation, or as a means of concluding existing litigation.
The legal background of the mediator can effectively provide an atmosphere of expertise and trust during the process. I believe it is important to select a mediator who is not uncomfortable with conflict and a good listener. The mediator should work with parties to develop and clarify their positions, foster understanding and reduce potential misunderstanding. Because it is the mediator’s role to empower the parties and develops the issues in dispute, it is vitally important that the mediator demonstrate neutrality and oversees the mediation process fairly. Therefore, choose an experienced mediator who listens, exhibits understanding and promotes mutual respect of all parties, thereby allowing the parties to make their own decisions, and develop a viable, lasting solution and resolution of the conflict.
Early resolution of a dispute provides compensation, minimizes expenses and provides closure (which is the aim of mediation). It is particularly important to evaluate the previous legal experience as well as mediation experience in the field or areas in dispute. The Mediator’s trial experience should also be strongly considered.
The best mediator is an impartial neutral participant (never an advocate) who facilitates the mediation process with the goal of fostering an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and understanding of each parties’ points of view. The mediator must also keep in mind the nature of dispute and assists the parties as they work toward the common goal of a lasting resolution of the dispute.