by Justin L. Kelsey
Mediation is a process for resolving disputes with an impartial facilitator. The mediator helps open and improve dialogue between two or more individuals in hopes of finding an acceptable resolution for everyone involved. There are many advantages to settling disputes through mediation, and we need more mediators in this world to help spread the word.
If you’re thinking about taking a mediation training here are five reasons you should do it sooner rather than later:
1. Mediation is good for Clients
Mediation helps clients because it is typically less expensive and more efficient than litigation, it gives the clients control over their timeline and the outcome, and it is private. These are all things that clients typically value in resolving a dispute. When educated about the benefits of mediation, most clients will be open to at least trying mediation before pursuing other options. The risk is typically low and the potential benefit significant. Potential clients will appreciate that you offer mediation as an option, and existing clients will appreciate that you are educated about a service they might seek to use.
2. Mediation is proven to Work
Most studies or programs that have tracked the settlement rate of mediation sessions, show that about 85-95% of the time mediation is successful in helping clients reach full settlement. In addition, even in cases that don’t reach full settlement, there may be improvements in the relationship between the parties, which many might consider a success. One study of family mediation found that parents were much more likely to have an ongoing relationship with their children after simply trying mediation for five hours, even if they didn’t settle. Read more about that study by clicking here.
3. Mediation is good for the Mediator
Speaking from experience, mediation is a rewarding process to be involved in. The process of mediation gives clients power over their decisions, and even when people have difficult conversations, the majority reach an agreement that they feel in control of. That process is empowering and meaningful, and as the mediator helping parties have that experience can be very rewarding. While not all lawyers are mediators, as a lawyer-mediator there is strong contrast between my experience in mediation and my experience litigating. In litigation, people are often frustrated by how little control they have over the rules, the process, and the outcome. It’s much more enjoyable to have clients who are happy with their process even when the outcome is not everything they may have wanted initially.
4. Mediation will Grow
The growth of online shopping and services, has led to a more educated class of consumers in the modern world. Consumers want efficiency, and they want services that are proven to work. Mediation is the settlement process that most closely resembles the online shopping culture, and if necessary mediation can even be conducted online with advancements in user friendly video conferencing software. Mediation is going to continue to grow, and offering that service will become more and more of a necessity for dispute resolution professionals who want to keep up.
In Massachusetts, in order to take mediator referrals from the court, or to mediate with privilege, the statute requires that you take a 30 hour training. The courts are inviting mediators into the courthouse more and more often to assist in resolving cases, and as this trend grows, there will be more and more opportunities to participate in mediation, if you’ve taken the necessary training.
5. Mediation skills are Life Skills
After taking the mediation training myself, I started recommending it to everyone I know, whether they will be a mediator or not. Most mediation trainings include a focus on active listening techniques and interest based negotiation. These skills will make you a better negotiator whether it’s part of your job or just in your own life. These are skills that can improve your relationships and reduce conflict in your life.
If you’re interested in taking a mediation training, there are many opportunities including two trainings per year held by Divorce Mediation Training Associates, with the next training scheduled in March, 2020 in Needham, Massachusetts. Learn more here: 40 hour Divorce Training.