Thursday, September 14, 2006

Should You Agree to Use a Mediator Recommended by Your Opponent?

Yes, but only if you have done a little research on the mediator first.

Mediators are trained to be neutral and unbiased in dealing with mediations and the mediation participants. Even if a mediator has worked with a certain individual or company several times, unless they are actually on the payroll of the company or the spouse of one of the participants, they are most likely going to meet the standards of their profession in being neutral and fair.

One advantage of using a mediator recommended by your opponent is that the mediator is already known and trusted by the other side. This means your opponent is more likely to be fair and reasonable when the mediator seeks concessions or "good faith" negotiations from them. And, the mediator may be able to give you some insight into your opponent and their strategies.

If your opponent recommends a mediator, look the mediator up on the Internet, get a resume or biography and make sure you are comfortable with the areas of the mediator's expertise. If you are still uncertain, schedule a half hour meeting with the mediator just to get to know him/her a little more and discuss your concerns and get answers to specific questions. This allows both you and the mediator to be more familiar, and therefore, more comfortable with each other during the mediation process itself. This also allows you to relax and focus on the substance of the process and working toward a satisfying result.

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