Monday, June 2, 2014

Who Wants To Be A Mediator?

Dear Elinor,

I think I am a natural mediator but I do not have a legal background.  How do I become professional mediator?  What kind of time commitment would I need to make to the job?  It is something that I could do in my free time?  Where do I get trained? 

Thanks, Sally

I am often asked about the requirements for becoming a Professional Mediator.  As I see it the best mediators have a natural talent.  I can teach strategies and explain the reasons that certain techniques work, but if a mediation trainee does not have a passion for this work they just go through the motions.  

Here is what I think you need to know about the business of mediation:    

Starting a mediation practice is like starting any other professional practice.  It requires time, energy, and a good marketing plan.  Part of the plan has to be the brand (or the niche).  What would your mediation niche be?  In other words, who is your target market?   

Mediators, in Florida, work in three settings.  Some work in court-annexed programs as either court employees or contractors.  Some work for administrative agencies - again either as employees or contractors.  And, some market themselves within the private sector to attorneys or unrepresented individuals.  

In Florida we are big on using mediation as a component of the litigation process.  Today, most court cases (of all types) are settled in mediation instead of going to trial.  We have not made fantastic progress on using mediation as a stand alone process.  There is great potential if you can figure out a way to promote mediation outside the courthouse.  

Here is what I think you need to know about mediation training:

Often people who attend mediation training simply want to add the credential of Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator to their resumes.  Where else can you find such an impressive credential for $495, 3 days of training, and 2 days of internship?  Sometimes consultants take the training because they want to be able to expand their offerings.  And, sometimes people are sent to the training by their companies/organizations as they can then go back and use their new skill in the workplace.  You can learn more at

Best, Elinor   

Elinor Robin, PhD
Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator and Mediation Trainer

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