A Mediator is a professional with high interpersonal and negotiation skills that specializes in serving as a liaison between at least two opposing parties. A Mediator’s job consists on facilitating grounds for negotiation and paving the way towards the resolution of a legal conflict in a way that is beneficial to all sides. This process is commonly known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and it allows people to settle their legal disputes outside a courtroom, letting them save money in legal costs, as well as precious time.
By definition, a Mediator is expected to be unbiased and completely impartial when handling a conflict. They will listen to all sides and try to find a way to reach a fair agreement. The biggest tool at their disposal is dialogue; hence, the importance of interpersonal and negotiation skills. Prior to working on any conflict, the Mediator should first read into the case, understanding the perspective, position, and interests of all involved parties in order to avoid prejudice.
Although it is common for Mediators to work on legal disputes, they do not necessarily possess the permissions and licences to practice Law.
Mediation is necessary in many different fields, not only in the legal system. Many Mediators will find themselves working in the Business and Administration fields. They may be necessary to resolve issues between executive members of the board in a certain company, Human Resources departments and labour unions, and even in civil cases such as divorces and custody hearings.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Mediators are required to complete.
- Using mediation techniques and methods in order to find a resolution to a conflict between two or more parties:
- Conferring with disputants to assess interests, concerns, and circumstances in order to gain a clear understanding of their respective claims;
- conducting hearings to obtain information about the dispute;
- arranging meetings and appointments for all parties to meet for mediation;
- conducting initial meetings with disputants in order to establish outlines for the arbitration process;
- preparing written opinions and decisions regarding cases;
- deciding on exceptions and motions; and
- writing settlement agreements for disputants to sign.
- Evaluating testimonies, information from documents, and laws related to the case:
- Researching laws, regulations, policies, or precedents that may influence disputes and their resolution;
- applying relevant laws, regulations, policies, or precedents when necessary; and
- conducting studies of appeal cases to ensure adherence to laws and regulations.
- Determining liability and possible outcomes when one of the parties offers an agreement:
- Advising other parties on whether to accept or reject settlement offers.
- Staying up-to-date with new passing bills, laws, and legislations.
- Using mediation techniques and methods to help conflicting parties reach an agreement.
- Analyzing the parties’ claims.
- Arbitrating during discussions between parties.
- Applying relevant laws and regulations that may affect the outcome of the discussion.
- Writing down decisions and rulings regarding conflicts.
The average salary for Mediator related jobs is $63,113 per year or $32 per hour. This is around 1.9 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $44,000 while most experienced workers make up to $88,000. These results are based on 2 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills:
- Creating a communicative environment where all parties may express their arguments in a calm and civil manner;
- having exceptional listening skills so as to fully understand the position, arguments, and circumstances of each party;
- being precise and specific when preparing official agreements and writing recommendations; and
- having enough tact to deal with sensitive situations.
- Exceptional negotiation and conflict resolution skills:
- Being able to make all parties reach an agreement that is beneficial to all; and
- being capable of working under pressure.
- High levels of moral integrity, ethics, and patience:
- Being able to remain unbiased and impartial during arbitration processes to avoid prejudice of one of the parties;
- moderating discussions over sensitive subjects and being trustworthy enough to handle confidential information in a discreet manner; and
- being able to maintain a calm and civil environment, avoiding heated arguments.
- Outstanding decision-making, critical-thinking, and analytical skills:
- Being able to formulate agreements and solutions that work as a compromise and are beneficial to all involved parties;
- being capable of analyzing and going through large amounts of information, both written and spoken; and
- standing by their final decision.
The key to becoming a successful Mediator is possessing outstanding negotiating abilities. It is for that reason that the educational requirements to become one are not fully standardized . Many Mediators are former Lawyers, Judges, and B usiness graduates since employers often seek candidates with experience in the field.
There are many different courses in Mediation available for any candidate wishing to become a Mediator. These often include negotiation techniques, conflict resolution methods, and help polish communication skills. On-the-job training is sometimes available, although it is usually not the case as applicants are expected to possess previous experience in the field they will be specializing in.
Most Mediators work directly with court houses, both provincial and federal, as well as city halls, so that they may be available whenever their services are required. Some of these professionals can also be found working in Mediation Agencies and Firms often working with civil cases.