Mediation Styles/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on July 20, 2014


A recent post appeared at by Don Cripe, Esq. In explaining his decision to become an ex-litigator and a full-time mediator, Mr. Cripe states:

When the parties choose a mediator they should find a mediator whose style matches their needs. There are as many styles and sub-styles of mediation as there are mediators. If the parties choose incorrectly their needs may not be met satisfactorily. I do not suggest that one style is superior to another in all cases. What I suggest, however, is that mediation is not a “one size fits all” proposition. An awful lot can be at stake in dispute resolution and there must be a reasonable fit for every party.

I agree in part and disagree in part with Mr. Cripe. It is true that there are different styles of mediation. The most important factor in choosing a mediator is more interpersonal skills and less style of mediation, as i see it. The questions I would ask re a mediator are these:
Does the mediator show compassion?
Is the mediator a good listener?
Does the mediator have patience?
Does the mediator have a passion for what they do?
Does the mediator have a body of writing relative to their philosophy of mediation?
Does the mediator have clients whop can speak enthusiastically about their work?

To sum it up, I would choose a surgeon who was not a perfect fit for me personality-wise. Ditto for a tax attorney. I would not do so with a mediator, whatever their style of mediation. The process is too personal, and the emotions are too raw, to allow style to reign supreme over the human dimension.