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Attorneys on Selecting Mediators - Alternative Dispute Resolution News

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Alternative Dispute Resolution News

Posted on: Aug 30, 2016

By D. Elizabeth Cox, Cox & Koons LLP

Recently, I sent a brief survey to about one hundred busy local attorneys of varying backgrounds and general practice areas asking the following questions:

  1. What is your biggest factor when selecting a mediator?
    1. Price
    2. Location
    3. Personal Relationship
    4. Snacks
    5. Personality
  2. How long do your mediations typically last?
    1. One hour
    2. Half Day
    3. Full Day
  3. What sort of mediation environment do you prefer?
    1. Couches
    2. Conference table
  4. How could a new mediator market themselves to you?
  5. Which do you use the most?
    1. Family Law mediator
    2. Civil mediator

Imagine my surprise when more than half of them responded!  

According to the results of the survey, the criteria that attorneys most frequently use in selecting their mediators are (in order) Personal Relationship, Price, and then Personality. Imagine my surprise that not everyone is as focused on their next snack as I am! The mediators used are overwhelmingly in the family law setting, have a full day setting most often and most prefer for the mediations to occur in a “conference table” setting rather than a less formal environment by a ratio of 10:1.

As to how mediators, old and new, can better market themselves, most attorneys said they would like to receive a mailer or a note from the mediator with a breakdown of their services, maybe including some experience or references and their prices.  Most everyone seemed open to trying someone new if the price is right for their clients. Attorneys also stressed that since they often select mediators based on their personal relationships or past interactions, personal presence is necessary and quick response with calendars is a must.

The long and the short of this is: the formula may be simple (conference room set ups, full day availability and a decent price) in order to build your mediation practice you need to work just as hard to build and maintain your personal and professional relationships. IndyBar offers all sorts of events where mediators, especially those with solo and small practice types, can get out and meet other people in their practice areas to start building those relationships. Keep your eye out on the events page for socials and mixers coming up and take every advantage to mix and mingle with your fellow practitioners. The relationships you build here can be the keys to the future success of your practice!

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