MEDIATION BROWN BAG
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT BECOMING A MEDIATOR


THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIAN MEDIATION CENTER offers a free informal brown bag luncheon for people interested in learning about the mediation field, the types of training available, opportunities for employment and practice, and other questions about becoming a mediator. This group opportunity to talk about mediation for those newly interested in the field is in response to the many individual requests for such information.

The meetings are held on the first Wednesday of most months (except in 2013 there will be NO Brown Bag Lunch in January), from 12:15 to 1:30 pm, and are hosted by Nancy J. Foster, J.D., at the Northern California Mediation Center in San Rafael, California.

Call (415) 461-6392 for information and directions. Space is limited so please let us know if you wish to attend.
You may also Register on line.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ'S)

WHAT TRAINING, DEGREES OR CERTIFICATES ARE NEEDED TO BECOME A MEDIATOR?

In the State of California, no degrees, certificates, trainings or other legal specifications are required to call oneself a mediator. However, professional mediation organizations, and most responsible and experienced mediators recommend that every mediator have specific mediation training. A 40-hour intensive introductory course is minimal and should be supplemented by other skill-based and knowledge-based courses as needed.

The majority of mediators have a profession of origin like law or counseling. Other mediators have backgrounds in business, education, religion or government. Although an advanced degree and/or experience in another profession are not necessary, they often give a mediator added credibility in the market place.

Training is needed because a good mediator requires a unique blend of both communication and analytic skills. For example, although lawyers may do a lot of negotiation, they tend to deal with conflict in a more ritualized way. Lawyers need to learn how to handle raw conflict when people are fighting in front of them. Therapists, on the other hand, may be experienced in dealing directly with conflict and strong feelings, but need skills in negotiating, analyzing and staying task-focused.

Training is available through our organization, The Northern California Mediation Center (see Training). Other trainings may be found at www.mediate.com


ARE THERE JOBS IN THE FIELD OF MEDIATION?
Most mediators have their own practices. They often build a practice by adding mediation as an additional service to what they are already doing. There are few jobs in the field, but some jobs do exist. There are administrative positions in court-based programs, community mediation centers and private group practices. More courts and governmental agencies are beginning to hire in-house mediators instead of using a panel of outside mediators.

In California, each county hires or contracts with mediators to provide mandatory custody mediation when parents request a court hearing to resolve a custody dispute. Such mediators are required to have, among other things, a mental health degree and five years of experience working with families.


HOW CAN I GET A MEDIATION PRACTICE STARTED?
First, take several trainings. Then get experience by volunteering in community mediation programs, or on court panels. Decide upon an area of practice (e.g. divorce, personal injury, employment, construction or commercial contracts, etc.) and develop a marketing brochure and business card. Start to network. Join mediation organizations so you meet other mediators. Write letters and enclose your brochure to your most likely referral sources—and follow up. Offer something free—a seminar, a talk, written information on a specific subject area, etc. Initially, be available at lower rates and at odd hours (before and after work, and on weekends), so you get the work and the experience. Consider a listing in the yellow pages. Initially, don't spend money on print advertising unless it is inexpensive, consistent and targets a limited audience who may know you (e.g. a small weekly newspaper, a weekly or monthly bulletin, etc.). Talk about what you do with enthusiasm, and ask for referrals. Continue to learn and grow—attend conferences, make presentations and get involved in mediation organizations.


WHAT ARE THE MAJOR MEDIATION ORGANIZATIONS?

    Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR)
    5151 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 500
    Washington, D.C. 20016
    (202) 662-1000
    membership@ACRnet.org
    www.acrnet.org

    Association for Dispute Resolution - Northern California Mediation Association ( ADRNC, formerly NCMA)
    601 Van Ness Avenue #E3-102
    San Francisco, CA 94102-6300
    (650) 745-3842
    adr@adrnc.net
    www.adrnc.net

    California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC)
    P.O. Box 177
    La Jolla, CA 92038
    (866) 216-CDRC (2372)
    cdrc@mediate.com
    www.cdrc.net

    Section of Dispute Resolution, American Bar Association
    740 Fifteenth Street NW
    Washington, D.C. 20005-1019
    (202) 662-1680
    dispute@abanet.org
    www.abanet.org

IS THERE MEDIATOR MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
Mediator malpractice insurance is available by becoming a member of ACR or NCMA through either Complete Equity Markets, Inc. (847) 541-0900, or Business Risk Partners (860) 903-0000.

Lawyers and therapists may obtain a mediation rider on their regular professional coverage.

The cost of mediator malpractice insurance is usually well under $1,000 per year.

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