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How to pick a mediator

Most important, the mediator needs to have the skills to conduct the mediation effectively. If the case is complex, you may want a mediator with some knowledge of the subject of the dispute if that helps in understanding the legal or technical elements of the disagreement.

 

While many mediators follow the facilitative model of mediation described above, others, particularly attorney -mediators, use a more assertive and evaluative process. They will offer an opinion as to how a judge might react or might offer personal ideas for settlement. Some parties want the mediator to help shape the conversation, while others prefer that the mediator allow the parties to come to their own resolution, especially if the dispute involves a relationship with a partner, neighbor, family member or friend.

 

The groups connected with this website each maintain a roster of trained mediators. Generally, the groups require mediators to complete formal training. To locate a mediator, email a member group and discuss your needs with the group's contact.

 

When choosing a mediator, feel free to ask questions that will help you to decide whether you believe the mediator can be neutral and whether the mediator can understand the issues from each party's perspective. Remember, the mediator does not have to be an expert in order to help you to reach agreement on your issue. You and the other party will have more knowledge of the situation and possible options that the mediator will. Some of the questions to ask might include:

 

  • What mediation training do you have?
  • What additional training or experience do you have that might be relevant to understanding the issues in this dispute?
  • How much mediation experience do you have and how regularly do you mediate?
  • What is your fee and what services are provided for that fee?

Mediators generally subscribe to professional standards of conduct (link) which provide guidelines for persons mediating in all practice contexts. They serve three primary goals: to guide the conduct of mediators, to inform the mediating parties, and to promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving disputes.

 

Standards of Conduct for Mediators

 

Introductory Note:
These standards are intended to apply to all types of mediation. It is recognized, however, that in some cases, laws or contractual agreements may affect the application of these standards. These standards are adapted from courts and various associations (Association for Conflict Resolution, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, American Bar Association, Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution and the American Arbitration Association) across the country specifically for the state of Wyoming.

 

1. Impartiality
The mediator must maintain impartiality towards all parties. Impartiality means freedom from favoritism or bias either by appearance, word or by action, and a commitment to serve all parties as opposed to a single party. If at any time the mediator is unable to conduct the process in an impartial manner, the mediator is obligated to withdraw.

 

2. Confidentiality
Maintaining confidentiality is critical to the dispute resolution process. Confidentiality encourages candor, a full exploration of the issues, and a mediator's acceptability. A commitment by the mediator to hold information in confidence during the mediation process must be honored. There may be some types of cases, however, in which confidentiality is not protected. Such exceptions are the following:

  1. Information that is statutorily mandated to be reported.
  2. Information that, in the judgment of the mediator, reveals a danger of serious physical harm either to a party or to a third person.
  3. Information that the mediator informs the parties will not be protected.

 

3. Conflict of Interest
The mediator must refrain from entering or continuing in any dispute if he or she believes or perceives that participation as a mediator would be a clear conflict of interest and any circumstances that may reasonably raise a question as to the mediator's impartiality. A mediator should disclose any known, significant, current or past, personal or professional, relationship with any party or attorney involved in the mediation. The mediator and all parties should discuss on a case-by-case basis whether to continue. The duty to disclose is a continuing obligation throughout the process.

 

4. Disclosure of Fees
Where costs and fees are funded by the parties, the mediator should enter into a written agreement with the parties that includes costs, fees, time, and manner of payment before beginning the mediation. No commissions, rebates or other similar forms of remuneration should be given or received by a mediator for the referral of clients. Fees should not be based on the outcome of the dispute.

 

5. The Settlement
The dispute resolution process belongs to the parties. The mediator has no vested interest in the terms of settlement, but must be satisfied that agreements in which he or she has participated will not impugn the integrity of the process. The mediator has a responsibility to see that the parties consider the terms of the settlement and be sensitive to inappropriate pressures to settle. If the mediator is concerned about the possible consequences of a proposed agreement, and the needs of the parties dictate, the mediator must inform the parties of that concern. In adhering to this standard, the mediator may find it advisable to educate the parties, to refer one or more parties for specialized advice, or to withdraw from the case. In no case, however, shall the mediator violate section 2, Confidentiality, of these standards.

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