Well, we all get better with experience. First, inquire about the mediator’s experience: how many years has s/he been working as a mediator, what style of mediation does s/he use, and what kinds of disputes has s/he been involved in. If a mediator just deals with landlord/tenant issues s/he may not be as helpful as a family mediator to advise you.
Mediators charge differently for their services. Some will charge per hour, some will charge per session (which may be longer than an hour) and some may charge a flat fee for half a day or a day. Keep in mind that mediation is a process, not a one-time session necessarily, and as such you must understand what you may expect to pay. Before mediation begins it is advisable to sign an agreement in writing with the mediator in which s/he will set out the fee structure and other terms such as the voluntary and confidential nature of this highly effective process of dispute resolution.
It is also important to ask about the mediator’s education. Sadly, mediation is not recognized as a profession sui generis (in its own right). This means you may encounter individuals who call themselves “mediators” who may have only five days (not five months or five years) of education or experience in this area. Continuing education is extremely important in any profession; it allows us, the professionals, to serve you, the client, in a much more efficient way.
Dr. Anita Dorczak, is a Lawyer , Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner. She practices alternative processes that let clients resolve divorce and family disputes outside of court-making the divorce process easier and less confusing. Dr. Dorczak uses her skills to provide reasonable solutions to clients’ problems with the least possible time, cost and stress.