How to Select the Best Mediator

Mediation is on the rise as an alternative to time consuming, costly trials. With the option of Mediation, the dispute is settled with the assistance of a third-party mediator and without the litigation process. (Roberts)

When the parties involved in a dispute have decided upon mediation as their solution, they may be wondering how to choose a mediator. There are several different ways to choose a mediator, as well as several different factors the parties should consider when choosing a mediator. In Brandon S. Peters book “How to Select the Best Mediator,” Peters states: “The three most important elements of selecting the right mediator for your case: (1) Approach; (2) Style; and (3) Background…Different cases require different approaches to mediation…” (Qtd. In Baer) Peters goes on to say that highly-skilled mediators should possess the necessary skills to guide the parties through the mediation process, see underlying issues and address them, and be able to examine the similarities and differences of the parties in order to reach a mutually beneficially resolution. (Qtd. In Baer)

Other things to consider when choosing a mediator are:

  • Parties should feel comfortable with their mediator. They should feel that they can talk to their mediator about private issues involved in the dispute.
  • Subject Matter Expertise (SME) – It is important depending on the case that the mediator has knowledge regarding the specific information that the case deals with. For example, if you need a construction case mediated, it may be important for the mediator to have knowledge of construction terms and information.
  • Level of Expertise— How many cases has the mediator settled? This may or may not determine the parties’ decision regarding which mediator they choose.
  • Good Listener—Does the mediator listen without interrupting? This can be an important trait to look for in a mediator.
  • Personal Traits—Things like calmness, intelligence, empathy, patience, maturity, and persuasiveness can be helpful in a mediator.
  • Areas of Practice—What types of cases does this mediator usually mediate? This may be important to consider. For example, it may be good to have a mediator that has previously mediated divorce cases help the parties if they are going through a divorce. (Tips for Selecting a Mediator, How to Choose a Mediator)

Now that we’ve discussed qualifications and traits to look for in a mediator, it is important to show the actual process of finding a mediator. There are several different ways parties in need of a mediator can find one.

Some of these ways are:

  • Word of Mouth—Through friends, attorneys, doctors, family members, etc.
  • Internet Search—Search engines such as google can help parties to find mediators. Also, specific websites such as, the American Arbitration Association website, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Institute website, and several others can help in finding a mediator. (Tips for Selecting a Mediator, Alaskan Judicial Council)

After the parties have names of mediators, they can then research the mediators through the information on the websites or by interviewing the mediator on the phone or in person in order to make sure that this mediator is the one they want to work on their case.