Are all mediators the same?
I wonder how many lawyers think this is true or maybe they categorize us into a couple of groups:
- Super-experienced, go-to mediators;
- Retired Judges; and
- Everyone else
I am challenging you to think beyond this paradigm. The first two groups include some fantastic mediators, but they can also be expensive and have large backlogs of cases leaving few dates on their calendar.
How do you find the diamonds in the rough in that third category of mediators?
(Funny story – My brother-in-law once called my sister his “diamond-in-the-rough” early on in their marriage thinking he was complimenting her by imagining a golf course and finding a diamond in the tall grass outside of the greens. While this sounds pretty good, the real meaning of “diamond in the rough” is that you are unrefined and need to be polished. My sister was not amused.)
While I work relentlessly to join that first group of super-experienced, go-to mediators, here are my suggestions for finding your diamond in the rough mediator.
Look For A Mediator With Strong Communication Skills
The mediator to listen and know what is being said and even more so, know what is not being said.
Look For A Mediator With Perseverance
The mediator should be the last person to give up. You want a mediator who is relentless in finding a solution.
Look For A Mediator With Creativity
Creative mediators make suggestions, sometimes outside of the box and sometimes outside of the whole shipping container. If your mediator is only carrying numbers back and forth, try asking for her suggestions and be open to trying something new.
Look For A Mediator Who Is Fearless
Mediators are delivering unpleasant but important news. This has to happen to find the true range of settlement possibilities.
I try to be all these things in my mediations and hopefully am polishing my shine. There has to be a diamond in there somewhere, right?