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How to Pick a Mediator

If you are thinking about using mediation as an early intervention tool, or to later resolve disputes, the questions on this checklist may be helpful.

September 6, 2001
Related Topics: Labor Relations
If you are thinking about using mediation as an early intervention tool, orto later resolve disputes, the questions on this checklist may be helpful:

  • How do I find skilled mediators in my area?

  • Is it important to have someone who has mediation training or can we justuse any lawyer who has trial experience?

  • Is it important to use someone who has mediated cases before?

  • Do we want to use people who aren't lawyers as mediators?

  • Is cost an important factor in mediator selection?

  • Do we want our mediator to have training in other areas such ascommunication skills, therapy processes, etc.?

  • What are the ethical standards that govern the mediator we select?

Early intervention programs:

  • Does my company have, or can it create, a culture that supports mutualresolution?

  • Will top levels of management at my company support an effort to instillthis process at early stages?

  • Would it be useful to hire a private mediator to help assess the needs andpossibilities for this program, to train our people and to work onimplementation?

  • Could we test run this program?

  • How long would our test run last?

  • What internal staff person will coordinate the development of forms andmovement of cases?

  • Can a private mediator help put together a panel of outside mediators wecould use?

  • Do we want to use exit surveys to monitor the effectiveness of ourprogram?

  • Will we give our program a special name, and how will we make it known andsupport it in our company?

Post-litigation mediation:

  • Does our legal counsel know about mediation and understand mediation?

  • Should we consider having our case be handled by a private mediator beforewe get too far into the litigation, and before people become fixed in theirpositions?

  • Would mediation be a better option after all of the formal discovery isfinished?

  • Do we want to help pick the mediator or will our legal counsel handle thatfor us?

  • Who will we send to the mediation process? Who are the people who havebeen directly involved, and who are the people who have the authority to get amatter resolved?

  • What people and processes do we need to have in place back at the companywhile mediation is happening in case any questions arise?

    It's important to remember that this checklist doesn't deal with allquestions and should be used as a starting point for those companies interestedin exploring mediation as a viable process for resolving disputes.

    The best thing you can do is to seek out and meet with qualified mediators inyour area and ask them to tell you about their experiences in mediatingemployment disputes. Then, continue your discussions to learn if theseindividuals might be able to help your company institute a mediation programthat can help resolve disputes and reduce costs.

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