How should one go about hiring a mediator -- What traits and experience should one look for?
Minnesota Mediation Attorney, Gregg Johnson, talks about what to look for when hiring a mediator.
Well, certainly you’re going to need someone who’s got experience, preferably as a trial lawyer, but also a person who is able to look at cases objectively. I think that’s one thing and serving as a trial court judge you have – I’ve had many years of serving as a neutral or in that capacity. One thing that lawyers bring is, of course, they are advocates, and in the 22 years of serving as a District Court Judge I got away from that concept of being an advocate, but rather as being someone who looks at a case objectively and neutrally. I think that that’s really important.
I think the other thing that’s important in hiring a mediator is finding a person who can connect well with people. Somebody who’s going to be able to talk not only to the lawyers and deal with the legal issues, but also to talk to people about the emotional issues that are associated with litigation. I think sometimes we in the legal community forget that the parties don’t always understand the law. They don’t understand what it means to actually go to trial and I think it’s the job of the mediator to connect with those people, to help them understand that resolution of a case and finding resolution is a much better approach to take than the uncertainty of actually going to trial.