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February 16, 2022

How to Become a Mediator with or without a Degree

Are you commonly seen as a peacemaker? Do your friends and family seek advice from you to work out disagreements? Would you enjoy a career where you can solve problems amongst loved ones, business partners, and others for the greater good? You may be a good fit for conflict resolution – a path almost anyone can venture on.

While it may not be one of the more talked about roles in law, being a mediator that helps individuals find resolutions to their disputes can truly be rewarding.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a mediator or transitioning into mediation from another legal role, this article will help you understand what is a mediator, the steps you should take to start your mediation career, and choosing a mediation speciality.

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is an impartial, alternative dispute resolution professional that assists two conflicting parties in resolving their differences. You don’t need a law degree to become a mediator but you will need sufficient education and training to begin a dispute resolution career.

Mediators should be able to settle conflict unbiased and with emotional intelligence. They must sift through the facts of the dispute at hand and manage the emotions and individual interests of the parties involved while remaining neutral.

What Does a Mediator Do?

Throughout the mediation process, a mediator’s job is to clarify the dispute amongst the parties involved, help identify the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and help both parties agree on a fair conclusion.

Some cases are straightforward and the mediator can help the parties reach a resolution quickly. Other cases could require a full day of mediation, possibly not reaching a resolution and pivoting to a lawsuit or continuation of mediation. A mediation may require creative or innovative solutions, so mediators should be flexible in their approach to how both parties can reach the potential outcome.

A mediator must be prepared to decline or withdraw if they cannot remain neutral in the case. A mediator must avoid conflict of interest in order to remain impartial and if a conflict of interest presents itself, withdraw immediately. Lastly, while outcomes of the dispute are public record, the mediator must maintain confidentiality of the mediation. Click here for more information on the mediation process.

Where to Find Mediation Education and Training

As you start your journey in dispute resolution, check the requirements for the local bar association in which you want to be a mediator. In most jurisdictions, you do not need to be an attorney to practice or transition into mediation. Also, verify if your jurisdiction of choice requires certain training to be appointed as a mediator by the courts. If you are not interested in the option for court appointed mediation, this won’t be a concern for you.

State bar associations often maintain a list online of training providers that can help you narrow down your search to become a mediator. Another good option is to check with continuing legal education providers like the American Bar Association or National Bar Association. These organizations will often have mediation conferences or courses on demand so you are able to complete the required dispute resolution training at your leisure.

Some law schools provide the training or certificate options as well, although these options are often more expensive than the others.

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Choose Your Mediation Speciality

Are you a powerful negotiator? Can you help resolve issues between business partners and life partners? Do you want to help resolve disputes between injured parties and the parties accused of injuring them? Whether you enjoy negotiation, handling business, or making families friendly again, it’s important to choose a mediation specialty that you are passionate about.

Mediators can specialize in one subject or multiple subjects as long as they gain the education and experience necessary to practice. You may need to take a greater variety of cases to get your mediation practice off the ground; however, in time you will eventually want to choose a practice specialty to start building a book of clients and business focused on that specialty. Here are just a few mediation areas you can specialize in:

  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Healthcare
  • School Violence
  • Environmental
  • Intercultural Conflict
  • Peer to Peer

You truly have a variety of mediation subjects you can focus your practice on. Not only will a mediation speciality allow you to grow the referral part of your business, the expertise developed will allow you to charge higher fees for these cases.

Fourth Party and Your Mediation Career

When you become a mediator, you’ll need to maximize time, money, and client relationships with smart, useful features. That’s where we come in. Fourth Party is the best app for mediators and arbitrators to execute safe and secure conflict resolution. When alternative dispute resolution professionals are on-the-move, they can trust our dynamic note-taking tool during in-person and virtual hearings to recap next steps or action steps. Also, ADRs can close cases with confidence with our post-reporting feature that helps navigate compliance at the state and federal level.

The Fourth Party app is intuitive, designed to help ADR professionals like mediators and arbitrators manage tasks, streamline negotiations, and track results – all in one place.

Click here to book a demo with us at Fourth Party. We look forward to getting to know you and doing our part to improve the dispute resolution process.