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
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 sourcesand follow up. Offer something freea 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 growattend conferences, make presentations
and get involved in mediation organizations.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR MEDIATION ORGANIZATIONS?
Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR)
IS THERE MEDIATOR MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
5151 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20016
Association for Dispute Resolution - Northern California Mediation Association ( ADRNC, formerly NCMA)
601 Van Ness Avenue #E3-102
San Francisco, CA 94102-6300
California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC)
P.O. Box 177
La Jolla, CA 92038
(866) 216-CDRC (2372)
Section of Dispute Resolution, American Bar Association
740 Fifteenth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005-1019
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
The cost of mediator malpractice insurance is usually well under $1,000