What to look for in a Mediator and Getting to know your Mediator

Feb 2, 2022 3:39:45 PM by Jayne Carlson

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First Court Insights

If you have to participate in a mediation and choose a mediator, what would you look for, and why is this important? First, you want a broad understanding and background of the parties' underlying needs and can guide parties to creative solutions without regard for legal ramifications, which can help parties agree. 

It just might bring a whole new perspective and life experience to the table. Mediators, in general, are a diverse bunch. I am not just talking about gender, race, or religion. I am talking about the mediator's personal background. 

For example, the areas of different lines of insurance are so vast that it holds a unique insight into the mediation case for the parties. In addition, mediators are open to creative solutions, and prior cases do not limit their ability to provide unique impasse breakers when they deem applicable. 

They are available to provide more of an innovative solution than wanting to "fix" the problem. And the mindset is not limited to how other cases have been resolved previously, which again brings a whole new perspective and life experience to the table.

Some of the more essential skills that mediators bring to the table are that that are:

  • Trained to resolve conflicts.
  • Focused on communication and resolution.
  • Dedicated to the mediation process.

Remember, A mediator's value lies in their ability to resolve conflicts, teach empathy, and work through problems peacefully and cohesively. You need a mediator to have experience with, for example, the insurance arena, the coverage's, insurance verbiage, some underlying expertise in the underlying area of practice, and always a level head that can quickly ascertain the issues.

Another big part of being a good mediator is being neutral. Mediation is not a trial. Participants have their own opinion of legal counsel and have gone through the thought processes of their side and the other side before formally agreeing to sit down. Mediation is a way of understanding what litigation will look like and gives the participants the ability to decide how far to go, litigate, or somewhere in between. Mediation becomes the first practical solution to another wise expensive, and lengthy legal explanation.

So, in selecting a mediator, you need to ask yourself some questions: Is this mediator someone trained to be neutral with years of practice being neutral? Is this someone skilled in dealing with emotions, a professional in getting both sides to trust them, and perhaps a bit of a sense of humor? Remember, a mediator should come with honesty, integrity and professionalism, and above all, ethics. 


Jayne Carlson

Jayne Carlson, is President, head mediator and has overall responsibility for all aspects of JDC Consulting. Jayne is a trained, certified mediator specializing in Insurance and business disputes. Ms. Carlson has assumed roles as a legal analyst, legal bill auditor, and client advisor for three major international insurance companies and two major international law firms. Jayne has been a mediator with First Court for 2 years. She has published several articles on LinkedIn and is a proud member of CLM.

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