Selecting the right mediator can be similar to choosing the right dog or cat from the animal shelter. There may be many from which to choose, but just like the animal you pick for your family, you need to be very careful to make sure you get the right mediator for your case. The good thing about it is, unlike with your pet, you do not have to take the mediator you choose home with you. Here are some things you should look for in picking the right mediator.
Style and comfort factor
It is essential you pick a mediator both your client and you will feel comfortable with and confident in the abilities of that person. Seek out recommendations for good mediators from other attorneys or legal professionals in your network. In addition, website searches may help you eliminate some mediators for your client based on their approach to mediation, style, backgrounds and qualifications. As you know, not all mediators use the same style.
You should consider a mediator that is not just a conveyor of demands and offers. Be confident enough to pick a mediator that is able and willing to discuss constructively with your client and you the important things to consider about your case and how those things may impact jury deliberations and the verdict. Make sure the mediator is someone with whom your client can identify; has the ability to listen attentively and in a non-judgmental way to what your client and you have to say; and is experienced enough and tactful enough to discuss uncomfortable, yet necessary, things to consider in a way that gives guidance to your client without alienating him or her.
Background and skill set
Many mediators can do a respectable job in mediating varied types of cases, but you need to make sure you pick a mediator that has actual experience in the area or areas of law involved in your case. At the very least, you need to pick a mediator that will take the time, at his or her own expense, to research and learn the important aspects of the law before the mediation. It is hard for someone to give your client insight on facts and law that will play a big role in the trial of the case if the mediator is not experienced in those areas.
Consider going with the mediator suggested by the opposing attorney
If the opposing attorney has suggested a mediator that meets the above criteria, give serious consideration to using that mediator. If you can convince that mediator of your client’s and your position, the opposing counsel will be hard pressed to not listen to what the mediator has to say. Under no circumstances should you agree to a mediator who, rightly or wrongly, you do not trust, feel they might be biased in favor of the opposing counsel or you will be suspicious of what they tell you. Going forward with that mediator, even though you may be erroneous in your feelings, will in all likelihood lead to an unsuccessful and unsatisfying mediation.
Picking the right mediator is like most everything in the practice of law. You have to do your homework and seek out the necessary information to do what is best for your client’s interest and the successful resolution of the case.
Founded in 2002, BAY Mediation and Arbitration Services, LLC, is one of the fastest growing alternative dispute resolution companies in Georgia. We now have 30 conference rooms after a recent 4,000 square foot addition. Our panel of neutrals consists of arbitrators and mediators with diverse backgrounds, and styles, who provide practical solutions in a variety of civil litigation areas. A majority of our 28 neutrals have at least 25 years or more of legal and/or judicial experience, have tried numerous cases and have been involved as litigants and neutrals in thousands of cases. We provide efficient, effective and quality dispute resolutions services. For more information or to schedule a mediation or arbitration with our neutrals, call our scheduling coordinator at (678) 222-0248 or by scheduling online at www.bayadr.com/scheduling/. We look forward to meeting your needs as well as the needs of your clients.