Mediation and Law Office of Hayden Lait
254 Court Avenue, Suite 305, Memphis, TN 38103
Telephone: (901) 230-4990 / Fax: (901) 529-9101
Choosing a mediator to help you manage the resolution of an issue or dispute is critically important if the mediation process is to be successful. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator who makes the decision for you, a mediator has no power or authority to impose a determination. Thus, the effectiveness of the mediator is gauged by two factors:
Does the mediator allow each party to feel their thoughts and view of the matter will be listened to and taken into account and that he or she will be protected in the mediation process?
Does the mediator's approach to managing the issues make sense? Is he or she organized and have sufficient skill and experience to be helpful?
Keep these factors in mind as you interview a prospective mediator.
Below is a list of questions you may wish to consider asking a potential mediator to assess their ability to be of help to you:
What is mediation? (Some mediators give advice and tell people what they think they should do; others will give information but feel the parties should make the final decisions.)
What is the structure of the process: when will we meet? Will you meet with us separately, together, or both?
What if we can't come to agreement?
How long will the process take?
How legally binding and enforceable is the mediated settlement?
What is your professional background: Lawyer? Judge? Mental Health Professional? Business Person? (Does the mediator separate his/her professional background from their role as a mediator?)
Is the mediator a member of professional mediation organizations and does he or she subscribe to the standards of practice of those organizations?
What is your training as a mediator? (Has the mediator been formally trained in interpersonal/group dynamics, conflict management and assessment, negotiation theory and skills?)
Do you have any potential conflicts or interests or biases that may affect your work as a mediator? (Does the mediator have a connection with on of the parties or a strongly held view about what should happen?)
What is your fee structure? (Do you bill by the hours, a daily rate, or a set fee? Will there be a retainer requested?)
What experience have you had in mediating cases similar to ours? (What kinds of matters and in what contexts have you worked: Family? Business? Environmental? Have you dealt with multiple parties and complex issues and business matters before? Can the mediator give you references, if requested?)
How will I be protected in the mediation process? (What rules will there be to assure that I will not lose a legal right to which I may be entitled or compromise an interest I may have? Will the mediation be confidential and will there be full disclosure of relevant information? What if I am uncomfortable negotiating with another party?)
You may have additional questions that come to mind. Don't hesitate to ask direct or even pointed questions about any concerns you may have. The mediator with whom you work should be able to thoughtfully answer your questions and put you at ease without taking sides and without over-promising a result. Most issues or disputes can be settled by mediation (approximately 80%), but there are no guarantees. Finally, trust your own instincts, intuition, and common sense.
Site © 2015 Hayden Lait. Certification as a Mediation Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee. Material presented on this web site is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such.