February 16, 2017
By Chuck Doran, MWI Mediator
If you are interested in learning how to become a mediator, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are surprisingly few requirements to becoming a mediator in the United States. Here in Boston, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 233 Section 23C outlines the confidentiality protections for mediators who have completed at least thirty-hours of mediation training and are accountable to a dispute resolution organization that has been in existence for at least three years.
With no national standards in place, each state has their own unique set of rules for becoming a mediator. Some state court systems have internal requirements and certification processes (FL, NC, SC, and VA, for example) and other states have no specific rules regarding the practice of mediation. The rules even vary in some states depending on the type of case you are mediating, including whether a mediator should have a degree in a field such as law or psychology. In fact, both the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution as well as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules (see Rule 8b(ii)) state that academic degrees and professional licensure are not necessary or sufficient criteria for becoming a mediator.
If you’re interested in becoming a mediator, here are a few things to consider:
Despite the profession’s relative low bar of entry, success in the field is not easy or guaranteed. There are many factors that distinguish successful mediators who are booked out for months, are repeatedly recommended by clients and counsel, and are known as the “mediator’s mediator” in their area. It takes time to understand how the process and the field works, to build your skills, and to build a reputation as an effective mediator. (More on this in a future blog.)
One truth that has kept me motivated and busy is that conflict is a growth industry there will always be a need for mediators. What do you think?
I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.