How Can I Find a Mediator for My Dispute?
Mediation can help you resolve conflicts and can be custom designed to serve all participants' needs. Mediation may also help you and the other person(s) understand each other's points of view.
There are several ways to find a mediator:
- Let your fingers do the walking. Check your local telephone directory's yellow pages under “mediator” and contact any mediators listed in order to determine fees and other information. (See below for helpful tips.)
- Check out your community. Another source of mediation is through community mediation centers. There are eighteen community mediation centers in Maryland that mediate certain kinds of disputes at no or low cost. The kinds of disputes the centers mediate include neighbor-to-neighbor, interpersonal, family, landlord-tenant, and school-based disputes, among other issues; a list of community mediation centers in Maryland can be found on the Community Mediation Maryland website as well as in the Consumers' Guide to ADR Services compiled by MACRO.
- Connect with the court. Most of the local circuit courts in Maryland have approved mediator lists for cases that the Court may choose to refer to mediation. You may go to the Clerk's Office of the nearest Circuit Court and ask to review the list and the application materials of the approved mediators for that Court. From the application forms, you can ascertain the training, background, and level of experience of each of those mediators. The Court can either assign your case to a mediator or you can choose one, so long as that person is agreed to by both parties.
- Search the state. Another source is the Mediators Online Directory provided by the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence. The directory, while not warranting the quality of the mediators listed, includes a short self-description of each mediator's areas of experience and interest.
Some mediators might not be listed in any of the sources above, and they still might be appropriate for your conflict. If you have an attorney, you might ask the attorney's office for referrals to mediators they have used in the past.
Mediators often specialize in particular kinds of disputes. Some mediators, for example, primarily handle divorce cases or child custody disputes. Others, particularly those at community mediation centers, have extensive experience in mediating neighbor-to-neighbor issues. There are mediators who focus on business issues, such as contract disputes, and others who have a particular interest in environmental mediation, for example.
Whichever mediator or mediation program you consider, you might wish to interview them by telephone first and ask questions about their background, training, and experience as a mediator. Some useful questions to ask include these:
- Has the mediator or mediation program has handled disputes similar to yours, and if so, what were the results?
- How would the mediator handle your dispute, and how might mediation help?
- Has the mediator taken any specialized training that fits your area of concern?
- How many cases have they mediated?
- How many hours of mediation have they conducted?
- Would they give you a few references—names of past clients who have used their services?
Mediation is being used more and more as a means of resolving disputes. One of our goals is to make sure people in Maryland have quality mediation experiences. We hope that by asking some of the questions listed above, you will be able to find a mediator that suits your needs.
Good luck to you in using mediation to resolve your dispute. If you need further assistance, call us at (410) 260-3540.