Mediator Selection/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on April 29, 2013


I recently read a post entitled “Preparing for Mediation:A Guide to Mediator Selection”. The author begins his discussion in the following way: “In most cases your attorney will select a mediator for you.” I could not disagree more. Why do I disagree?

1. Your attorney was chosen, likely, for litigation knowledge and skills. Those traits have no currency in the field of mediation where the goal is to get to Win-Win.

2. Attorneys sometimes are quite opposed to mediation, for various reasons. Why ask someone to choose a mediator if they may have little regard for such activity?

3. No one knows you better than you do. Why have someone else make this choice of a mediator for you? Do your own homework and then interview potential mediators.

4. Your attorney may have as limited number of mediator contacts. Why narrow your search.

How then should one choose a mediator. Talk to parties who had a successful divorce process (i.e. a civil one) and ask them about their experiences. Read the blogs of mediators. Check with local clergy, psychologists, financial planners, etc. All of them may have had contacts with good mediators. Finally, do not hesitate to write your questions down and then “interview” mediators on the phone with your questions in hand. You will get a feel about philosophy, experience, personality, etc. Most importantly, you get sense whether a chemistry can develop between you and your mediator.

The choice of a mediator is an important one. Your attorney might make a good selection for you. In any event, you can make a better selection for yourself if you are willing to do the necessary legwork. Mediate don’t litigate.