Disputes happen in the life of every North Carolina business, and finding a solution to these disputes sometimes requires outside help. The right mediator can help you and your opponents resolve your issue without costly and time-consuming litigation. But how do you know what makes a good mediator?
Thoroughly Assess Your Business Dispute
Before you start looking for a mediator, ensure you clearly understand your business dispute. Is it centered around contracts? Or maybe a partnership disagreement? Knowing the nature of your dispute will help you identify a mediator with the appropriate skills and experience.
Examine the Mediator’s Track Record and Experience
Don’t be shy about examining your prospective mediator’s track record. Ask how many mediations they’ve facilitated and how many resulted in a settlement agreement. Remember, perfection isn’t realistic, but a successful mediator should demonstrate a consistent pattern of reaching settlements.
Look into their experience as well. How long have they been mediating disputes? Do they have formal mediation training? Do they pursue continuing education? Are they certified, and if so, by whom? Their background before becoming a mediator also matters; experience as a judge or business law litigator, for example, could be beneficial.
Consider the Mediator’s Style and Approach
Request prospective mediators to explain their approach to the mediation process. What are their values and goals in mediation? What’s their policy on confidentiality and ethical standards? Do they prefer to meet all parties together, or do they utilize the “caucus” approach (meeting separately with each side)? Understanding their style can help you anticipate how they might handle your dispute.
Don’t Neglect the Mediator’s Personality
The importance of a mediator’s personality cannot be overstated. Mediation can be a high-pressure situation filled with conflict. Select a mediator with a calm demeanor, neutral stance, and high levels of emotional intelligence and empathy. Steer clear of mediators who seem impatient or easily irritated.
How Much Does the Mediator Charge?
While cost shouldn’t be your primary factor in choosing a mediator, it’s still a consideration. Mediator costs can vary significantly, and you should be aware of this upfront. Balancing cost with experience and personality is vital to finding a mediator who fits your budget while still providing the professional service you require.
The Power of Referrals
Referrals are a potent tool in your search for a mediator. Recommendations from colleagues, industry conferences, or even competitors can lead you to a mediator well-suited for your case. Ask your friends and associates if they’ve used a mediator they thought was skillful and would recommend.
Respect and Trust
Respect is a foundational element in choosing a mediator. Both parties should have a measure of respect for the mediator. If a suggested mediator is someone you don’t respect, you may find it challenging to have them oversee your dispute. However, a mediator you respect will be more likely to help you resolve your conflict.
The North Carolina Legal Landscape
Your mediator should possess a comprehensive understanding of North Carolina’s legal terrain. This includes being familiar with the local courts, knowing the potential jury pool for your case, and having some knowledge of the judges who might oversee a business dispute. This understanding can help a mediator offer more specific and beneficial guidance throughout the mediation process.
Keeping these factors in mind can help you locate a mediator who is competent and the right fit for your needs. Remember, a well-handled mediation can save you time, money, and emotional stress, making your choice of mediator an investment worth careful consideration. The North Carolina business mediation attorneys at Mullen, Holland & Cooper, P.A. want to make the mediation process as smooth as possible for you, and we have a proven track record of success in these cases. Call us today at 704-864-6751 or visit our contact page to learn more about how we can help.