Mediation can be a relatively fast and cost-effective way to resolve a dispute, and it is typically the best solution when it comes to preserving business relationships. However, in order to be effective, you need to choose the right mediator. There are many factors to consider in this process, and we’ll discuss a few of those here.
Role of a Mediator
Mediation stands out from other forms of alternative dispute resolution because it is ultimately the disputing parties who sort out the problem, not the mediator. The mediator is simply a facilitator who assists the discussion and offers direction to help those involved reach an agreement.
This offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of how mediation is handled. Some mediators will offer more opinions on the issue, while others take a more “hands off” approach. Some encourage direct communication between disputing parties, while others may act as a go-between. The nature of your dispute, the current balance of power between you and the other party, and other factors will help you determine what type of approach will work best for your situation.
The mediator’s reputation is also important to assess. If they come well recommended by your peers, then they are more likely to help you achieve favorable results during the mediation process. Word of mouth is key here—as important as their CV might be, the experiences others have had with them will say a great deal about their competence.
It’s important to note that most mediators will have cases that they were not able to resolve favorably. This may not necessarily be the mediator’s fault, so it’s important to look into that when assessing a mediator’s track record.
A good mediator should have experience that will enable them to best help you resolve your dispute. In many cases, and particularly in the most complex ones, there is an absolute need for industry-specific expertise. In other scenarios, this type of experience may not be strictly necessary. In fact, it may impede objectivity in that it would predispose the mediator toward certain preconceived notions of how the issue should be resolved.
The type and scope of experience you need from your mediator will depend on your industry, the complexity of the dispute, and the issue’s overall context.
Perhaps more than pertinent experience, it is absolutely crucial that your mediator be impartial. If there is any perception that the mediator is biased toward one side, it will make other party far less likely to accept any proposed solution. If they do accept it, it will likely come undone later on.
It should be noted that any mediator you hire will have their own preconceived notions about various issues. The key is that they are able to act impartially regardless of their own opinions.
Ability to Prioritize
Finally, a good mediator is able to prioritize. They seek out key information first and make sure the most important steps are taken promptly. This expedites the mediation process and allows quick resolution.
For highly skilled and impartial mediation, contact Hart David Carson LLP.