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Working As A Legal Mediator

  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $76,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Legal Mediator Do

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

Duties

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators typically do the following:

  • Facilitate communication between disputants to guide parties toward mutual agreement
  • Clarify issues, concerns, needs, and interests of all parties involved
  • Conduct initial meetings with disputants to outline the arbitration process
  • Settle procedural matters such as fees, or determine details such as witness numbers and time requirements
  • Set up appointments for parties to meet for mediation or arbitration
  • Interview claimants, agents, or witnesses to obtain information about disputed issues
  • Prepare settlement agreements for disputants to sign
  • Apply relevant laws, regulations, policies, or precedents to reach conclusions
  • Evaluate information from documents such as claim applications, birth or death certificates, and physician or employer records

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help opposing parties settle disputes outside of court. They hold private, confidential hearings, which are less formal than a court trial.

Arbitrators are usually attorneys, business professionals, or retired judges with expertise in a particular field. As impartial third parties, they hear and decide disputes between opposing parties. Arbitrators may work alone or in a panel with other arbitrators. In some cases, arbitrators may decide procedural issues, such as what evidence may be submitted and when hearings will be held.

Arbitration may be required by law for some claims and disputes. When it is not thus required, the parties in dispute sometimes voluntarily agree to arbitration rather than proceed with litigation or a trial. In some cases, parties may appeal the arbitrator’s decision.

Mediators are neutral parties who help people resolve their disputes. However, unlike arbitrators, they do not make decisions. Rather, mediators help facilitate discussion and guide the parties toward a mutually acceptable agreement. If the opposing sides cannot reach a settlement with the mediator’s help, they are free to pursue other options.

Conciliators are similar to mediators. Their role is to help guide opposing sides to a settlement. However, they typically meet with the parties separately. The opposing sides must decide in advance if they will be bound by the conciliator’s recommendations. The conciliator typically has no authority to seek evidence or call witnesses, nor do they usually write decisions or make awards.

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How To Become A Legal Mediator

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators learn their skills through a combination of education, training, and work experience.

Education

Education is one part of becoming an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator. Some colleges and universities offer certificate programs, 2-year master’s degrees, or doctoral degree programs in dispute or conflict resolution. However, few candidates receive a degree specific to the field of arbitration, mediation, or conflict resolution. Instead, applicants may use these programs to supplement their existing educational degree and work experience in other fields.

Rather, many positions require an educational degree appropriate to the applicant’s field of expertise, and a bachelor’s degree is often sufficient. Many other positions, however, require applicants to have a law degree, a master’s in business administration, or some other advanced degree.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are usually lawyers, retired judges, or business professionals with expertise in a particular field, such as construction or insurance. They need to have knowledge of that industry and be able to relate well to people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Training

Although there are no state requirements for mediators working in private settings, mediators typically must meet specific training or experience standards to practice in state-funded or court-appointed mediation cases. Qualifications and standards vary by state or by court. However, most states require mediators to complete 20 to 40 hours of training courses. Some states require additional hours of training in a specialty area.

Some states also require mediators to work under the supervision of an experienced mediator for a certain number of cases before becoming qualified.

Training for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is available through independent mediation programs, national and local mediation membership organizations, and postsecondary schools. Training is also available by volunteering at a community mediation center.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There is no national license for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators. However, as with training requirements, some states require arbitrators and mediators to become certified to work on certain types of cases. State requirements vary widely.

Some states require licenses appropriate to the applicant’s field of expertise. For example, some courts may require applicants to be licensed attorneys or certified public accountants.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must apply rules of law. They must remain neutral and not let their own personal assumptions interfere with the proceedings.

Decisionmaking skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must be able to weigh facts, apply the law or rules, and make a decision relatively quickly.

Interpersonal skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators deal with disputing parties and must be able to facilitate discussion in a calm and respectful way.

Listening skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must pay close attention to what is being said in order for them to evaluate information.

Reading skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must be able to evaluate and distinguish important facts from large amounts of complex information.

Writing skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators write recommendations or decisions relating to appeals or disputes. They must be able to write their decisions clearly so that all sides understand the decision.

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Top Skills for A Legal Mediator

  1. Legal Documents
  2. Court Hearings
  3. BBB
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared legal documents and correspondence.
  • Provide supporting documentation to GM Legal staff for cases that go to trial.
  • Reviewed law journals and other legal publications to identify court decisions pertinent to pending cases.
  • Assessed customer financial documentation to determine best option for mitigating losses to the company and investors.
  • Participated in home retention events such as NACA along with in person mediations in multiple jurisdictions.

Legal Mediator Demographics

Gender

Female

55.1%

Male

28.6%

Unknown

16.3%
Ethnicity

White

55.5%

Hispanic or Latino

20.8%

Black or African American

13.2%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Albanian

25.0%

Italian

25.0%

French

25.0%

Spanish

25.0%
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Legal Mediator Education

Schools

University of Texas at Austin

12.5%

Capital University

8.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

8.3%

Hawkeye Community College

4.2%

State University of New York College at Old Westbury

4.2%

Tusculum College

4.2%

Clark Atlanta University

4.2%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.2%

Middlesex County College

4.2%

University of Alabama

4.2%

Tiffin University

4.2%

University of North Carolina at Wilmington

4.2%

Wayne State University

4.2%

North Carolina Central University

4.2%

ITT Technical Institute-Fort Wayne

4.2%

Arizona Summit Law School

4.2%

University of Central Oklahoma

4.2%

Faulkner University

4.2%

Trinity Law School

4.2%

Arkansas State University

4.2%
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Majors

Law

22.5%

Business

15.0%

Economics

7.5%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

7.5%

Political Science

7.5%

Education

5.0%

Communication

5.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.0%

History

2.5%

Legal Studies

2.5%

Dispute Resolution

2.5%

Military Technology

2.5%

Plant Sciences

2.5%

Library Science And Administration

2.5%

Real Estate

2.5%

Management Information Systems

2.5%

Information Technology

2.5%

Human Resources Management

2.5%
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Degrees

Masters

32.5%

Doctorate

22.5%

Bachelors

22.5%

Other

20.0%

Associate

2.5%
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