Shouldn't a mediator be a lawyer of retired judge?

Mediation is not a natural extension of the practice of law, because mediation permits a broader definition of conflict as well as a more complete approach to its resolution.  While there are many excellent mediators who are lawyers or retired judges, because attorneys are schooled in, and acculturated to, the adversarial approach, it is very difficult for them to be equally accomplished in a more collaborative approach to settling disputes.

 

There is no evidence to suggest that simply because a conflict may involve issues of law, that legal skills are more relevant to facilitating its resolution than human relations and negotiation skills.  In fact, a study in California found that non-lawyer mediators were just as successful in mediation as lawyer mediators.

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© by Alan Jacobs  Photography © Paul W. Bailey