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Caveat Mediator

Diane Levin’s Mediation Channel post today concerns certification (or lack thereof) for mediators.  She notes that there is no governmental body that certifies mediators nor any uniform standards for doing so. Some states (like Florida) require certification by the State Supreme Court in order to be appointed by a court to mediate a case. However, even Florida does not require certification in order to be chosen as mediator by parties to a dispute. Private groups have arisen that promise to train and certify mediators, but there are no uniform standards for such groups to apply to their certificates. No state has defined mediation as the practice of law, so passing the bar is not required. In fact, neither is graduation from (or even attendance in) a law school. So, for parties to disputes who want to select a mediator, the rule is still caveat emptor — buyer beware! Ask your mediator for proof of training and references. For mediators, it would be wise to get some good training before hanging out a shingle. At a minimum, the mediator should know the rules concerning confidentiality and the requirements for an enforceable settlement agreement. Otherwise, caveat mediator — Mediator beware!

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