The following are just a few possible questions to ask as you choose a mediator. If you are working with an attorney, you will make this decision together with your attorney.

Do you want a mediator who is an attorney? What about an attorney with a particular legal background?

Most mediators are attorneys. An attorney has the obvious advantage of familiarity with the legal process: motions, orders, legal terms, etc. It is also an advantage to use a mediator who has practical experience with your type of case. Using an attorney who has handled divorce cases means that he or she will have at least some familiarity with family law issues. An attorney familiar with the probate process and estate planning will have some skill in addressing those types of disputes. Make sure your mediator has the level of experience you trust.

Training as Mediator.

Many mediators are specifically trained in the skills they need to mediate successfully, and they obtain continuing legal education to further polish their skills. Not all mediators are trained. Some mediators conduct mediation without any training. Carefully consider whether the qualifications of the mediator, as a mediator, are important to you. Often, a mediator who has been trained will have developed the special skills necessary to get the case settled.

How complex is the case?

If your case is very complex, you will want to make sure that the mediator has sufficient experience to deal with the complicated issues. If you determine that the mediator is not familiar with the terms or concepts, or does not understand the complex issues, you should seek a mediator with more expertise.


You will want to find out what the mediator’s rate is and determine who will be paying for the mediator’s services. Mediators usually expect payment “up front,” and they charge a wide variety of rates. A less costly mediator can sometimes be as effective as one who charges more. It is important to get recommendations and have confidence in the mediator you choose.

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